Go, dogs. Go!

thMarti loves children’s books. She loves to buy them; I love to read them; and until reading became something painful for Chandler, he loved to be read to. Not that there was any serious correlation between the two, but for Marti, having children was a really good excuse for buying more children’s books. She still buys them occasionally, especially if they are illustrated well. With our first grandchild due in November, I expect we will start picking up on the children’s book market.

A favorite of both Christopher and Chandler was Go, Dog. Go!, by P.D. Eastman. It’s a simple beginning reader with such short sentences that you can memorize them and think you’re reading even before you know what you’re doing.

Most children’s books disguise serious themes, since adults will be mostly reading them to their children and we need to be interested, too. This one is no exception.

It’s about diversity. There are big dogs and little dogs; black dogs and white dogs; and red, green, blue and yellow dogs as well.

There are dogs at work and dogs at play. Both are important (sometimes we forget to play).

There are dogs on top of things and dogs under things, as well as dogs over and under the water. There are dogs going up and dogs going down, and dogs going all around. We learn lots of prepositions from these dogs.

There are dogs asleep at night — 21 dogs asleep in one bed, except for one who is wide awake. And then it’s time for all dogs to get up: “Go dogs. Go!” Except for one who is still th-1asleep; probably the one who was awake earlier. We know that feeling.

There are even dogs with opinions. Three times a pink female dog asks a yellow and black spotted dog if he likes her hat. It’s a different hat each time, and each time the yellow dog says, “I do not like that hat.” And probably, in one of the more subtle messages of this little book, the two dogs part smiling. It’s okay for her to like something he does not like. It’s not the end of the world.

Both my boys’ favorite part was dogs in cars. In their cars they would go away fast. They would stop at stop signs in order to not run over a scared little birdie. They would have to obey road signs. And at the end of the book, they are all in their cars going to a very large tree, on top of which is a very large dog party. There’s cake and ice cream, presents and party hats, fireworks and a trampoline net; they are swinging from branches, and even one green dog is about to be shot from a cannon. It’s quite a dog party with lots to look at. Just about every time we read this book, we found something new about this dog party we hadn’t seen before.
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And one last time, while getting ready to climb the ladder to the top of the tree, the little pink dog asks the spotted yellow dog if he likes her hat. It’s quite an elaborate hat this time with a flower pot on top, and spiders, a fish and a mouse dangling from what look like little fishing poles. This time, the yellow dog says, “I do. What a hat! I like it! I like that party hat!” And in the last frame, the pink and yellow dogs are in a car, driving off into the sunset with their party hats on, saying, “Good-by!”

“Good-by.”

The hardest part is still, “Dogs in cars again. Going away. Going away fast.” And not being able to say, “Good-by.” It’s still hard.

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7 Responses to Go, dogs. Go!

  1. Sally says:

    There is something special about reading to children. I have enjoyed it for years! I can understand Marti’s affinity to children’s books. There are several authors that have done so much good with their books, too. Patricia Polacco comes to mind immediately with her books on social justice, and more.

  2. Carole in Midland says:

    Maybe you don’t hAVE to say “goodbye,” John – maybe a “see you later” will do, with a “y’all come back real soon, ya’ hear?” thrown in for good measure. You know, there are still some places here in the South where we can leave the ‘big’ door open at night and feel the cool evening breeze thru the screen door, and when folks (usually unexpectedly) knock, you always hear it, can peek around the corner to see who’s there, and then smile and say, “Door’s open! Come on in!” It’s nice to leave a door open, you know?

  3. Mark Seguin says:

    LOL, today over today’s Catch because “Go, Dog. Go!” was one of my favorite childhood books too!
    PS Luv my other Catch buddy Carole in Midland post! Because after I had came home for a weekend visit, while my stay in the hospital was coming near to the end from the time i spent in a coma. My brother-in Law, Bob picked up on it saying “goodbye” to me just hit me too hard, so he suggested as Carole did saying ‘see ya later.’ Just seemed to make it easier – Maybe this advice will come in handy when Chandler does return home. 🙂

  4. Andrew P. says:

    My grandson loves for us to read to him. I guess it was a year or so ago (when he was 3) that we were reading that book to him, and his excitement level that day was memorable (and very funny). On almost every page, something made him exclaim, “Oh, no!” (which didn’t necessarily mean there was a problem). He said it so many times, I lost track, and his excitement was palpable. Then he wanted to do like the dog OVER the water, and jump in — so the sofa was his diving board, and the carpet was the water. (Yes, he jumped.) Altogether, a heartwarming experience (and one-time only; nothing like it has ever happened again). The enthusiasm was infectious.

    No saddening “Good-bye” that day, but I understand YOUR sadness. Were I in your shoes, that day from a year ago might very well come to my mind, but in a very different light.

  5. Janet Licklider says:

    I’ve been thinking about you guys. Some people think hugs are over rated but they’re not. You guys (John and Marti) need to make a point to hug each other 4 or 5 times a day. A real loving, caring, heartfelt hug with all that you have, not a stiff obligatory hug. Especially at times when you start to get snippy or down or “have to demand you are right over something dumb”. Just stop and hug. It might take a few times but they will start making you feel a little better.
    And you did not fail Chandler in any way. You faced the fact that he needed help you couldn’t give him instead of burying your head in the sand. That took a lot of courage and love. You did the hard thing but it is what was best for all. You would have failed him more by doing nothing. So quit beating yourselves up and claim the grace of God and cling to each other. The way you hug someone a lot of times shows someone how you feel better than words ever could. Yes, you are both going to grieve for a while in your own way but hugs help you stay close. And remember, you are in God’s hands and you did not make this decision lightly and on your own. I know you prayed hard over this and heeded God’s guidance .
    As always, your whole family is in my prayers and will be for a long time. I know this doesn’t go along with today’s post but I just felt that God was putting this in my heart to share with you. I am just glad I can pray for you the way you have prayed for me in the past. Love you guys even though I only know you through the catch. You have touched my heart many times even though I do not usually post comments because of my own feelings of inadequacy to say anything profound when I should just say what is in my heart and not worry about being profound. Sorry for my rambling.

  6. hi! Do you like my hat! One of my favorite parts and the dog party.. All my children and grandchildren love this book, but I think I love it the most!
    I am praising Jesus for connections with children today… From the good days thru those storms….thank you.. I am thinking of you! Cynthia

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