Saturday, January 17, 2015

Book Review: Sally Gets a Job (dog, children's book)

Sally Gets a Job, by Stephen Huneck (Abrams, 2008, 32 pages, $16.95, ages 6-9)

Sally Get a Job is brilliantly written and illustrated with infinite care. Where have I been not to have read The Sally Books before this?

Huneck’s love for the canine species is so evident in his words, his pictures and even in his dedications: to Sally (Sally Goes to the Beach) , to dogs everywhere and to the children who love them, to snow angels (Sally’s Snow Adventure).

Vermont is Home

Who hasn’t heard of The Dog Chapel in Vermont? Built by Stephen Huneck (1948-2010) on Dog Mountain, The Dog Chapel is a tribute to man’s best friend. Huneck was an artist depicting man’s best friend in numerous ways: one of which was to write and illustrate books for children - The Sally Books, starring Huneck’s black lab Sally, America’s favorite dog. No humans appear, not even children – only parts of humans, like hands for petting dogs and arms for driving them around. Because, after all, these are dog books (for all children who understand dogs).

How Does Huneck do it?

Huneck first drew the illustrations in crayon, then, for each color, he carved a different block of wood. After each block was inked with its one color, the blocks were stamped onto paper and allowed to dry. Painstaking finished and filled with love, these illustrations are a national treasure.

The Sally Values

Who does Sally meet and what new things does she experience? Each book is an adventure with Sally teaching her young readers how much fun it is to meet new friends and try new things in new places like on the farm, at the vet’s, at the beach, in the mountains, at a snow lodge – Sally even considers getting a job.

Charming and whimsical with a twist or two to keep the giggles coming, even from the adults, The Sally Books are books to keep. They are intensely child-centric and personal, told from a dog’s point of view so children understand.

The Story

In the morning, everyone leaves for work or school – everyone except Sally, that is. She thinks she really should get a job but which one? Maybe she could be an archeologist – she likes to dig. And studying nature is fun – nothing about it bugs her.  Sally also thinks washing dishes would be tasty (the way dogs clean the dishes, that is.) Maybe she should be a prognosticator – she can always tell when her family is about to arrive. She also contemplates being a . . . . .

Then Sally finally realizes she already has the best job of all! Can you guess what it is?

Read More About It: To take a chairside tour of Dog Chapel and Dog Mountain, click here. To listen to a 20-minute documentary about Stephen Huneck and his work, click here. His life was truly a work of art and of love: the documentary is A Love Story.

The Sally Books:
Sally Goes to the Beach, Sally Goes to the Mountains, Sally Goes to the Farm, Sally Goes to the Vet , Sally’s Snow Adventure, Sally Gets a Job and Sally Goes to Heaven
Sally’s Great Balloon Adventure
Sally at the Farm, Sally in the Sand
My Dog’s Brain, The Dog Chapel, and Even Bad Dogs Go to Heaven 

Next: DogEvals' other Best Book of 2014

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