Arthur is a fine example of a children’s picture book where the illustrations (Donna Gynell) and text (Amanda Graham) perfectly complement each other. I love sharing stories with kids that have so many picture details for them to notice and giggle over. It often makes the difference between a good book, and one that will be read over and over until it’s dog-eared.
An ordinary brown dog who wants out of the pet shop, Arthur tries imitating other pets to attract a customer. Despite all his squeaking, purring and swimming underwater, nobody wants him. Until one day, Melanie and her grandfather appear.
First published by Era (Australia) in 1984, this book has stood the test of time and is still much loved by kids. It has a wonderful rhythm to it, with repetitions of events and vocabulary that make it easy for the young listener to gain an idea of the story structure. The fonts and layout help a parent or teacher to read the story aloud, giving clues for emphasis and expression.
Arthur would make a great addition to any personal or classroom library. It could spark discussion about individual differences and being true to yourself. It’s also one of those books that start as a read-aloud, but lends itself to being read alone, for sheer pleasure, as a child becomes an independent reader.
Young children might like to draw or write about their own pets, or find magazine pictures of as many different pets as they can. Older children might be prompted to write a story about a different pet looking for a home, or design a Wanted poster to help Arthur.
Book Chook Alert: Another great writing contest for kids, from Australian author, Christine Harris. Remember my review on Audrey of the Outback? Christine is offering a wonderful prize to one lucky child who writes a review of.