It's About Dogs

Common Sense Media says

A true gift for dog lovers -- children and adults.





What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

One poem in particular portrays a dog at the pound. Another touches on cruelty to animals.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will enjoy the poems about mischievous, wise, kind and mysterious canines.

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What's the story?

This book is a true gift for dog lovers; children and adults. Anyone who has experienced a dog's unconditional love will recognize the varied personalities off these giving creatures. The watercolor paintings leap off the page with tail-wagging energy and big-eyed emotion.

Forty-three poems about forty-three dogs. Dog owners are likely to find their breed, from beagles to Saint Bernards, from bulldogs to mutts. The topics include visiting rest homes, begging for food, fetching the ball, dreaming of glory days, and being an adoptive (dog) mother to kittens. Ted Rand's personality-filled illustrations accompany the words.

Is it any good?


Tony Johnston peppers her book with canine quotes from Franz Kafka and William Shakespeare. The author takes readers on a journey from the first dog of the caveman, introduces us to Henry VIII's dogs, tells the story of Mr. Lincoln's doctor's dog, and reveals the long road taken by a dog seeking the holy manger.

From the image of a caveman-days dog lurking near a fire to an adorable pet hiding under a tablecloth, Ted Rand captures the power of the moment in his exuberant watercolor paintings. The Christmas dachshund with his bright red bow and the picture of a dog being an adoptive mother of kittens warms the heart.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their favorite dog breeds. Which dogs in this book do you enjoy? Kids can also try writing their own canine-inspired poetry.

Book details

Author:Tony Johnston
Illustrator:Ted Rand
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Harcourt Brace
Publication date:March 1, 2000
Number of pages:48
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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