Sunday, June 7, 2009

Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear

Title: Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear
Author: Michael Baek
Illustrator: By the Author
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 3 to 6
Rating: 5 Paws out of 5

Synopsis: Tag, the gentle family dog loves and is loved by Baby Elisa. She squeezes, tackles and pulls Tag’s tail. Mom and Dad tell her to “be gentle with the dog, dear.” But, when she takes Tag’s favorite toy, she has gone too far. As the book says, “What is a good dog to do?” How Tag solves this problem is exactly the way most dogs resort to solve conflicts.

Michael Baek is a Korean born writer, artist and graphic designer. His words are concise and tell the story with compassion for both the dog and the baby. The colorful illustrations are kept simple, but really capture the dog's body language and innocence of little Elisa. Particularly well drawn is the picture of Tag growling with ears flat and teeth bared.

The Trainer Reads: Mr. Baek illustrated this all too common story found in homes today. An otherwise good and gentle dog is taxed by the new baby growing and exploring. Parents must understand that toddlers aren’t mature enough to have a sense of empathy for other creatures. It’s crucial to remember that the dog whose pack structure fits so beautifully into our family unit is still a descendent of the wolf. Small children are litter mates at best. This story leads to a happy ending for Tag and the baby. Elisa learns her limits and they become friends again. “Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear” is an excellent book for parents to share with toddlers to begin the road to an empathetic, caring and responsible adult.

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