by Francesco Marciuliano
Inside Jacket: From toy poodles to great danes, dogs of all sizes, breeds, ages, and dispositions have an inner poet lurking just beneath the surface. Written by these astute and inspired canines, with instant classics such as “I Dropped a Ball,” I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House,” and “Can You Smell That?” Each poem in this collection perfectly captures the quirkiness and unbridled enthusiasm of man’s best friend.
Opening: Dogs have never been shy about expressing their emotions. When they’re happy, they wag their tails. And when they’re suffering from ennui, they wag their tails . . .
What I Thought: I love this book of poetry. It may be a small book—no bigger than a photograph once received from a roll of 35mm film—but the wisdom it contains from our best friends is immeasurable. I Could Chew on This contains four chapters: Inside, Outside, By Your Side, and Heavy Thinking. Every part of a dog’s life finds expression in one or two of these poems. Topics include separation anxiety, dinnertime, wearing clothes and raincoats, and barking at the TV. The dogs speak of walking, going to dog parks, making mistakes, and channeling everything into their humans.
I read this book in one sitting, laughing the entire time. Some of these poems are so spot-on about dogs, but then, considering these are all canine poets knowing about themselves as expected. Like me, you will most likely learn a few things you did not know about Spot, Rover, or Jimmy. For instance, did you know how dogs decide who the leader will be, or that there are six ways to say your dog’s name? Me either.
I love the humor in each poem. I love the each dog’s enthusiasm, character, intelligence, insightfulness, and pathos. Dogs spend their lives trying to please their human companion(s). We humans do not always understand our dogs as they would like to be understood. Take the poem Splash as an example of a time when we humans need to be the insightful half of this relationship.
The illustrations are all photographs of a dog or dogs physically expressing the thought of the poem next to it. The dogs and pups are adorable, even when caught in some of the less charming predicaments. In the poems dogs open up and express what they are and how they feel about so many things. It is like having a peephole into the doghouse. One poem I like is from a puppy. The pup explains the difference between two dogs playing and fighting.
I Could Chew on This is not a children’s book. I do think it is child-friendly and since there are so many animal lovers on this site, I thought it would be a nice treat. Together, you and your child can read these poems and begin to understand your dog like never before. Hide the book so your dog is surprised and curious how you suddenly know why he barks at other dogs, at the dog park, at the television. When it is time to go out and it is raining, forget the raincoat. Your dogs will love you for it, even while being totally surprised you finally understand his objections to those little yellow boots.
Released July 30, 2013
Age: all ages
© 2013 by Chronicle Books, used with permission
Text copyright © 2013 by Francesco Marciuliano
- Nonfiction Books by Dogs (mediumlarge.wordpress.com)
- Reading Poetry in the Classroom (teacherspodium.wordpress.com)