Monday, April 29, 2013

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

Rather than being an embodiment of depression, the dog in Levi Pinfold's picture book, Black Dog, represents fear. Members of the Hope family see a dog outside that grows more massive with each glimpse. The youngest child -- Small Hope -- is the only one with the courage to face the beast, thereby shrinking it to normal size.

Pinfold's nostalgic tempera illustrations evoke a pre-television era, somewhat in the way of KG Campbell in Lester's Dreadful Sweaters. Pinfold's style is closer to Australian Shaun Tan's than Campbell's however. Pinfold's details -- the lovely soap dish clipped to the side of the bathtub, the Battenburg cake on a plate -- kept me lingering over each charming page. The Hope's house is just so cozy I want to visit the place! Check out Pinfold's work on his website here.

Black Dog is a great book to share with preschoolers... and fearful people of any age.

p.s. The wintery scene on the cover is appropriate to Edmonton's weather today; it's snowing here.

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