Sometimes the most simple of stories can portray the most depth and ‘My Dog Socks’ is a testament to this. The interplay of story, illustrations and concepts all have layers that give depth of meaning to this beautiful story of a boy and his dog – some obvious, others quite subtle.
Firstly, the story, written from the boy’s perspective, is penned in poetic prose, which flow seamlessly from one page to the next in an enticingly fun and totally intriguing style. The emotions attached to strong relationships are explored, showing the unconditional love and acceptance of the multitudinal sides of all living beings – the ups and downs of life and being there to support each other through the good and not so good times and also the acceptance of differences that comes with such a strong bond.
The abstract elements of the watercolour illustrations cleverly convey the author’s words and add depth by the use of an extremely clever shadowing technique that depicts each stage of the story. The dog is painted in a deep navy blue-purplish colour to make it stand out from the natural settings – I learnt this from the illustrator herself. It adds to the layers I mentioned at the start – stunningly so!
‘My Dog Socks,’ is based on a real dog that belonged to the author before he moved on from this world. It is, no doubt, the invisible layer of love that undertone Robyn’s words. Socks lives on posthumously on Facebook and avid dog lovers would enjoy this site: https://www.facebook.com/Sox-The-Philosophical-Pooch-Osborne-162936030398385/
You can see a picture of the real ‘Socks’ and get some great teaching ideas on the Publisher’s website – Ford Street Publishing – here: http://www.fordstreetpublishing.com/ford/images/stories/teachers_notes/My_Dog_Socks_Teacher_Notes.pdf
This book is not only for lovers of ‘man’s best friend,’ but for those of us that love all animals – and you just might be surprised at how many other animals you can actually find throughout this book!
Congratulations to Robyn Osborne and Sadami Konchi – I see more depth and fall in love with this book just a little bit more every time I read it.