Carl at the Dog Show



Once again, Rottweiler takes great care of his little girl.

What parents need to know

Educational value

While it's certainly possible to take this book as pure fun, Carl at the Dog Show also serves as a great introduction to the dog show world for kids -- not only as an overview of what to expect at such an event but a look at the many different breeds and types of dogs.

Positive messages

Safety is a recurring theme in the Carl books. There's never a moment in which the little girl isn't perfectly secure -- thanks, of course, to Carl. Despite what's by now a running joke about Madeleine's mother leaving the child in the custody of a dog, which can't possibly turn out well in real life, Carl invariably and unquestionably rises to the occasion. By this point in the series, no one bats an eyelash as a preschooler heads off into a crowded arena on the back of a Rottweiler -- who, in due course, eyes the clock and delivers her promptly to the proper destination.

Positive role models

Carl exemplifies the good babysitter's role of having fun with your charge while keeping her safe and being mindful of her mother's instructions. Madeleine's mother, while hilariously oblivious of what her daughter and Carl have been up to in her absence all these years, is otherwise loving and attentive and has shown discerning taste in choosing a custodian for her child. Various dog owners are shown engaged in fun activities with their dogs.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Good Dog Carl is back, and he's lost none of his babysitting skills. Which is just as well, because young Madeleine has lost none of her ability to get into mischief, and a dog show offers many opportunities, from the grooming stations to the agility ring. Sweet, charming fun, as we've come to expect from this series.

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What's the story?

Everyone's favorite Rottweiler and his little girl, Madeleine, are at a fancy dog show, where her mom is helping a friend, who's showing Carl's brother. She tells Madeleine to meet her at Ring 8 and stay out of trouble. Fans of the series know how that's going to turn out, as the duo sample the event's delights in gorgeous, hilarious illustrations.

Is it any good?


You don't have to be a dog lover to love Carl books; their highly visual storytelling tickles the funnybone of kids and adults alike. Alexandra Day's colorful illustrations are rich with subtle, humorous touches that reward multiple visits. And the recurring plot of this long-running series (begining in 1985 with Good Dog, Carl), in which mischievous Madeleine manages to wreak all manner of low-level havoc but Carl (who actually scores Best Babysitter honors here) keeps it all under control, always brings a smile.

Budding dog lovers will especially love CARL AT THE DOG SHOW, which features canines of many varieties engaged in many activities and includes an informative glossary of dog breeds at the back.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difference between the funny things in this book -- like riding on a dog's back, running around a dog show with just a dog for a babysitter, etc. -- and what happens in real life.

  • Kids: Did you know there were so many different kinds of dogs? Which ones do you like best?

  • Have you ever been to a dog show? If you got a chance to go, what do you think you'd like to do best?

  • Who do you think is the better champion -- Gamble for winning the ribbon, or Carl for taking care of Madeleine?

  • How do you think this book compares to others in the Carl series? Is it as funny? As interesting?

Book details

Author:Alexandra Day
Illustrator:Alexandra Day
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:January 17, 2012
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 8
Read aloud:3 - 8
Read alone:4 - 8

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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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