Here’s a challenge for a tired parent: Try to get through the tongue twisters and antics of a very energetic canine in A Dog Named Doug without collapsing into laughter. The first line sets the stage: “Once there was a dog named Doug. Doug liked to dig, but when Doug dug, oh boy, did Doug DIG!” Readers young and old will delight in Doug’s journey, which brings them from the Old West to Hollywood and from the African savannah to the White House. And what world tour would be complete without a visit to Stonehenge? In fact, Doug digs so deep underground that he ends up on the other side of the world. (Where, naturally, he finds himself upside down.)
To enhance Karma Wilson’s clever rhymes, illustrator Matt Myers has used both pictures and inventive graphic design and varied typefaces to keep young readers engaged—and to help preschoolers identify letters, too. On one spread, a tractor falls into the giant “U” in the word “ruts.” On another page, piles of mud become the letter “M.”
And, while Doug’s tale is as rollicking as a real dog energetically excavating a flower bed, A Dog Named Doug cleverly manages to be a bedtime story. After all, any determined digger (whether they have four legs or two) has to rest sometime. And so we follow Doug to bed, where, of course, he dreams of more digging adventures.