My Dog is the Best
by Laurie AnnThompson
illus by Paul Schmid
Back in the fall, The Educator's Collaborative did their first "PD in your PJ's" series of workshops. The one that was not only the most meaningful to me, but made me think long after it was over was Kathy Collins'. She talked about a subject that has made me ponder a lot - getting those young kids to be thinking about their early reader books and understanding it more than just reading the quick, easy text. If you missed her workshop and teach younger students, I highly recommend watching it. Here's the link. In her workshop, Kathy shows a menu that can be used with young readers that gives them ideas of how to go back and revisit a text. I think I found a fantastic book that teachers can use to show many of these ideas.
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Laurie Ann Thompson, author of the book My Dog is the Best. I first came across Laurie's work this winter when Emmanuel's Dream was published. This book is near and dear to my heart since it is about how a child born with a physical disability overcame and became known not for his disability, but for the work he has done. My daughter and I did the Nerdy Book Club post for it.
I had quickly read My Dog is the Best at ALA Midwinter, but finally sat down and read it again this week. I had time to think about the text, the illustrations, how they worked together and the message of the text. It made me think of Kathy's presentation, probably because the book she used is about a dog and so is this one! Both have easier texts and words that can be decoded by early readers. This illustrations help readers understand the text and will therefore be a book that is accessible for those early readers.
Books like these are hard to come by. Oftentimes, the easier the text, the more boring and dry the book. This book will hold readers' attention because of the subject matter and the endearing illustrations.
I can see teachers of primary grades using this text to show students how to synthesize what the story is about - no, it's not about their favorite page or just about the dog being the best. This is a text that teachers can go back and revisit and look at the illustrations and what new information do they get by going back and looking at them for a second time.
It is a delightful book and one I plan on using this fall!