A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.