Title The Night I Followed the Dog
Author Nina Laden
Illustrator/Photographer Nina Laden
Publisher and Year Chronicle Books, 1994
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Descriptive Annotation: This book is written from the perspective of the dog’s owner, a little boy. Not only are the words in large print, but also the descriptive words are illustrated to represent their meaning; the command “roll over,” for example, is written upside down. In this book, a boy describes the adventures that occurred after seeing his dog step out of a limousine wearing a suit one morning. He follows his dog to his doghouse, and finds that the doghouse has been recreated into an actual home. He continues following his dog to what turns out to be a nightclub for dogs, named The Doghouse. His dog, in fact, is the owner and manager of the club! This club is a place for dogs to unwind, eat treats, and have fun with other neighborhood dogs. The dog and the boy enjoy a night together at The Doghouse, and the boy appreciates his dog even more than before. This book is pretty straightforward, so most children should understand the plot if they have a basic understanding of the roles and actions of dogs within a household.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book gives students the outlet to explore what is hidden behind the surface. Just as the little boy did not realize his dog was a business owner, students may not understand or recognize fellow students’ hidden passions or talents. This concept is an important one to teach during early childhood—don’t judge a book by its cover.
Interdisciplinary Connections: This book meets the SELS 2B.1a., “Describe the ways that people are similar and different” as well as 2A.1b., “Use listening skills to identify the feelings and perspectives of others.” These two standards apply to this book in many ways: the little boy did not realize that, like himself, his dog had a social life and secrets of his own, and through experiencing a night with his dog, he was able to understand more about why the dog acted like he did while in his house (tired and lazy), as well as allowing the little boy to respect his dog more than he had in the past.
Other Information: As previously mentioned, this book could tie in with the important lesson of not judging others based on appearances or first impressions. I enjoyed this book, particularly the way it was written. Important words were highlighted within the text by being written in a way that describes their meaning, which could be beneficial for students who do not understand a bigger word, like “limousine.” Students with pets would definitely enjoy this book because it may make them wonder about what their pets do while they are asleep. Before reading this book, have students create a list of all the activities their pets enjoy and ask them what they think their pets do while the family is on vacation or in bed. This book would be read more for pleasure than for information, but it is a great read nonetheless.