Spare Dog Parts
Written by Alison Hughes
Illustrated by Ashley Spires
Orca Book Publishers 1/26/2016
32 pages Ages 4—8
“When my dog was made, they used leftover parts. And they put her together like a big dog puzzle.
“So begins the journey into a young girl’s imaginings of how her beloved pet came to be. A stumpy tail, mismatched paws, one long drooly snout and the biggest dog heart that ever beat—these are just some of the pieces that combine to make the perfect pet.” [inside jacket]
What would your perfect pet be like? Would it drool? Maybe it has somber grey eyes. How about a patchwork body? This little girl made her dog from a mound of possibilities. She pieced it together on a corkboard, and then patiently and lovingly put her beloved dog together using leftover pieces. All the other dogs have taken the best parts, but it does not matter. The girl’s dog will be perfect, as she is, having received the best parts for her role in the girl’s life.
Spare Dog Parts is an ode to pets everywhere, especially the dog. From her first body part to her last, the dog is happy, as all dogs usually are with their pet parents. Just as the girl’s dog is perfect in her eyes, most of us consider our pets as perfect, even with their imperfections. Not every dog needs a pedigree. I think young kids will respond to Spare Dog Parts, especially if they have or want a dog. Cat folks might feel left out, but the same applies regardless of the species.
The beautiful ink and watercolor illustrations are fun and easily show how dogs become so important in a child’s life. Each spread is like a love letter to the artist’s own pet and to ours. After reading Spare Dog Parts, kids may well imagine piecing their own pet together. Kids without a pet can be encouraged to design the perfect pet, giving reasons for each part they choose. As such, Spare Dog Parts can become an exercise in creativity and imagination for the classroom.
I love the childlike vision of the story. The young girl never settles or simply accepts that her dog (maybe) got the leftover, lesser-valued parts. As she puts her puzzle together, those parts are perfect and are just what her dog needs. Spare Dog Parts is a good read aloud that will entertain children and adults. I can imagine Spare Dog Parts will become a favorite of kids with dog pals. It easily became a favorite of mine. Our canine friends—our mutts—may be made of Spare Dog Parts, but over time, they become all we could have hoped to have in a pet.
SPARE DOG PARTS. Text copyright © 2016 by Alison Hughes. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Ashley Spires. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Orca Book Publishers, Victoria, BC, Canada.
Alison Hughes: http://www.alisonhughesbooks.com/
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BC Association of Book Publishers Bestseller List (April, 2016)
SPARE DOG PARTS. Illustrations © 2016 by Ashley Spires. Used by permission of Orca Book Publishers.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Spare Dog Parts by Alison Hughes & Ashley Spires, and received from Orca Book Publishers, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”