Friday, March 21, 2014
Santiago Stays, written and illlustrated by Angela Dominguez. Abrams, 2013. $13.95 ages 3 and up
Santiago is a tough sell! I know bulldogs ( I have two granddogs, remember?) and they can be enticed to do most anything with a happy smile and a bit of encouragement. I spent a lot of time with a lovable French bulldog, and know that he only wanted to please. So, it's a surprise that no amount of coaxing gets Santiago to leave his chosen spot. He seems rooted to it!
His young owner knows all the tricks, but none work; not a walk, the chance to wear his favorite sweater, or a treat. He stays planted on the map, while looking like he might finally succumb when food is offered. He just turns his back. Percy (the older granddog who turned 7 this week) does not have the wherewithal to ignore any kind of food.
The conversational text makes this a perfect book for early readers. Pets, especially dogs, offer a special appeal when they are choosing their own books to read. Expressive and full of feeling, it is sure to encourage repeated readings.
Ms. Dominguez uses pencil, marker, ink, tissue paper and digital color to create a warm and loving story of a dog bent on the task at hand, and unwilling to give in to temptation. I laughed out loud when I saw the turkey leg reflected in Santiago's gentle, brown eyes. And again when I saw how full of yearning he was at the thought of all that food he must pass up!
The mystery of his ability to resist is only evident in the final three spreads. His dignity in the face of the onslaught is sure to elicit an "AWWW!"