Dogger: Shirley Hughes
(Random House Children’s Books, 1977)
It’s my birthday in a few days so this week’s choice is a book close to my heart. I’ve already briefly reviewed it in my Six Books post but it deserves its own entry. This is quite simply a perfect picture book and one I treasured when I was a child, reading and re-reading to myself often.
Once there was a soft brown toy called Dogger. One of his ears pointed upwards and the other flopped over. His fur was worn in places because he was quite old. He belonged to Dave.
I’m sure I don’t need to write anything about how wonderful Shirley Hughes’ work is, but actually I’m only really appreciating her as an adult reading the books to my children. Yes, I loved many of her books as a child (and so many paperbacks with her illustrations that I never realised were Shirley Hughes at the time) but it was all taken for granted. Now the moments of family life captured so perfectly are much more poignant and I spend longer looking at the pictures as I read the books again and again…
Dogger is a book that should be on every bookcase in my opinion. It’s a story of a lost toy and sibling love wrapped up in ordinary life.
I like to think I am still young, regardless of being three years (and a few days!) off forty, but I do remember times like these and with older siblings I was brought up on a diet of books from the 60’s and 70’s (despite being born after decimalisation I get nostalgic about pounds, shillings and pence too…) which further cements this era in my memory. Plus we live in a village (separated from the nearest town by a field, but a village nonetheless!) which has similar fetes and flower shows 🙂
Dogger is not only a beautiful book but a moment of real family life captured perfectly. And how can you not like a book which has a child dressed as a dalek in it?
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