Australian author Lois Nicholls and illustrator Lara Nicholls, a mother-daughter team, celebrate lovable canines in rhyme in their children's picture book. The book features nine watercolour illustrations of beloved dogs, paired with nine rhyming stories describing their unique personalities. “We wanted the book to appeal to parents as well as children and the fun, amusing rhymes are bound to have readers laughing out loud. From Burt the Bulldog to Bonnie the Beagle, the rhymes also highlight amusing characteristics in the nine breeds we’ve selected,” says Lois. For the artwork, Lara worked in watercolour and pencil to produce unique illustrations. She drew inspiration from real-life dogs she encounters on her daily runs in her neighbourhood as well as beloved pets from her childhood: “I was inspired by family dogs, past and present. The first dog in the book, Tarna the Golden Retriever, was my family pet for thirteen years, so to immortalise her was quite special.” The illustrator added a “little surprise” on every page: “We included a small watercolour bee on every page of the book for the little, or big ones, to find. It adds another layer of intrigue—especially for those who are still developing their reading skills.” Lois Nicholls is a writer, dog lover, wife and mother of three grown children. Born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, she migrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1997 with her husband and firstborn son. She is a former newspaper and magazine journalist. Lara Nicholls is a graduate in Communications & Arts from the University of Queensland. She is also a passionate painter, dressmaker and scribbler.
A poem about each dog sits beside a whimsical watercolor portrait by the author’s daughter, Lara Nicholls; they illuminate the dogs’ personalities and draw readers in with their expressive eyes. Lara Nicholls also ups the enjoyment factor for young readers by adding one tiny, intricate bee on every page—hidden on a dog or in a word—as a seek-and-find challenge that older kids and adults will enjoy, too.
Lois Nicholls’s charming poetry is not the only star of this show; she ensures an enjoyable reading experience for budding readers with the creative use of fonts and imaginative formatting for a quirky touch. An amusing game at the end titled “What’s My Name” tests how well readers paid attention to the narrative. Kids and adults alike will revel in the entertaining format, and the reading combined with games will have them returning again and again.
Takeaway: Young readers and those reading along with them will delight in this entertaining introduction to loveable pooches.
Great for fans of: Kevin O’Malley’s The Perfect Dog, Avery Corman’s Bark in the Park!: Poems for Dog Lovers, Maira Kalman’s Beloved Dog.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A