In about 250 words, and many visual gags, this simple — and simply delightful — book offers so much to love. The hand-written typeface tells a first-person story where a little girl — expecting a dog for a present, is given a cat, instead. Yet she doesn’t realize that her new pet isn’t what she’d first thought. The painted illustrations are an absolute delight as the irrepressible young girl gradually discovers that her “bad dog” is actually a good cat.
I’ve been thinking about the subtext here — how simply being a little oblivious can lead to preconceptions, and from there, into prejudices and all that follows from that. Like the pet that seems like one thing, yet turns out to be another, this fun (and funny) book is actually a timely and wonderfully subtle book on gaining understanding and how that can lead to appreciation and acceptance. It is, in my opinion, one of the very finest children’s books of the year.