Friday, December 18, 2009
wag, written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. Little Brown, Hachette. 2009. $19.99 ages 3 and up
"Earl's tail wags when he's eating (FWIP FWIP FWIP) or playing ball (FWIP FWIP FWIP) or just sitting in a field of flowers (FWIP FWIP FWIP). But what makes Earl's tail wag?"
Patrick McDonnell has been writing and drawing about dogs and cats for fifteen years in his comic strip called MUTTS. Much of his inspiration is drawn from a dog who cared for him and loved him for nineteen very happy years. In this story about his dog Earl he intrigues his young readers with the many times that Earl's tail wags. It doesn't seem to matter what is happening; Earl is full of life and endless joy. But, why? Mooch is quite sure he knows. But each time he holds up (of flaps) his arm to respond to the question, he quickly draws back with shyness and uncertainty. Finally after some time and much thought, Mooch seems to have the answer...could it be that simple? Is it love? Can love be the answer?
The boundless energy of Earl is endearingly shared with his audience and the author's great love for his dog (and pets in general) is evident in each inky line drawn for this entertaining story. What a pleasure to share the FWIP FWIP FWIPs with youngsters as the book is read! Or, they can provide the onomatopoeia of the wagging tail with each new instance that causes Earl to show how he truly feels about the world that surrounds him. There is a YouTube video from Little Brown that will allow children to listen in on Patrick McDonnell's reason for writing his newest book. It might lead you to look for the others mentioned.