Black Dog (Levi Pinfold. Templar Books, 2011)
This picture book was a perfect read at my house this week, as my daughters received vaccinations. In both families–the one in the book and my own, it is the youngest member that faces, without hesitation, the thing that the rest of the family is terrified of. My eldest daughter started crying about getting a needle the night before (I let it slip that we had an appointment the next day–dang!). By the time she was at the doctor’s office, the needle had grown, in her mind, to ten times the size. In Black Dog, Small Hope steps outside to confront the dog that her father cried was the size of a tiger, her mother the size of an elephant, her sister a T-rex and her brother a Big Jeffy (whatever that is). Small Hope’s complete lack of fear talks the dog back down to size, which she then shows to her family, who is barricaded behind a table and armed with kitchen utensils. The exquisitely detailed sepia drawings contrast with the blackness of the dog, which Pinfold draws fantastically. Prepare yourself for the spread that takes you nose to nose with the canine. Although the picture book closes with a message that may be a bit too well articulated, I cannot think of a better way to tell the story of confronting, and conquering, fears.