Fetch

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Fetch Book Poster Image
Spare text and evocative art capture dog's beach adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Introduction to sea life. Familiarity with action verbs. 

Positive Messages

Play is fun. The beach is fun. Respect ocean life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The dog is playful and active.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jorey Hurley's Fetch, similar to her acclaimed debut picture book, Nestis spare and evocative with very little text -- only one word per two-page spread -- making it a good choice for very young children. The words are mostly simple action verbs: "splash," "swim," "dive," "run," "float," "play." But the art tells the story in much more detail, graphically conveying a sense of unleashed freedom.

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What's the story?

FETCH tells the story of a dog playing fetch at the beach. When he's sent chasing after a red ball, he ends up in the ocean, where he encounters a host of ocean creatures. Each page is printed with one action verb, and we see the dog swimming with fish, diving near a seal, playing catch with seagulls, paddling near dolphins, and even floating high above a lone shark who's not a threat, intent on its own ocean business. The story ends with the dog returning the ball to a little girl, ready to play fetch again.

Is it any good?

The heart of Fetch is in the art; though it's a simple story -- dog chases red ball -- it feels like high adventure. The dog crashes through waves and paddles next to leaping dolphins. In two of the spreads, Hurley cleverly turns the book sideways so the longer spreads can depict the mysterious depths of the ocean. Overall, she conveys the exuberance of play and freedom at the beach.

The spare text works well with the evocative art, though some of the verbs are more fun and vivid than others: "splash" vs. the more abstract "meet"; "shake" vs. the more pedestrian "run." But the text is not the main attraction. Parents and kids alike can take pleasure in the bounding dog, let loose to play on the beach.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the beach. Which animals live in the water? On the shore?

  • How do dogs like to play? How do kids like to play? Why do you think play is important?

  • How does the art in this book tell a story even though there are very few words? Tell the fuller story yourself, in your own words.

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