Domestic animals > February 2, 2021

‘Dog Boy’ and ‘Dog’

February 2, 2021
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Author Orhan Pamuk said, “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” Both Shaun Tan and Eva Hornung are listening carefully. Their beautifully crafted books, Dog and Dog Boy share deep and unusual understandings of the dog-human bond.

“No matter what future meets our planet … ” Shaun Tan says, ” … it’s hard to imagine that a dog will not be there by our side, always urging us forward.” The beautiful paintings in Shaun’s book explore different times and settings, each with a human and dog, across a man-made barrier, together. The story, Dog, is a stand-alone picture book based on a story in Tales from the Inner City which was the winner of the 2020 Kate Greenaway medal. Tales from the Inner City is one of my favourite books. I love the way Shaun’s stories make me reconsider my place in nature.

The human-dog friendship, said to be our oldest animal connection, dates back tens of thousands of years. And stories about wild children adopted by animals can be found in cultures around the world. Dog Boy, by Eva Hornung, follows a hungry four-year-old, abandoned by humans, and adopted by a stray dog and her family. Through Romochka’s grim struggle for survival, he works hard to be accepted by the pack. Humans, not beasts, are the ones who betray him. Winner of the Prime Minister’s Fiction Award this wonderful book uses all the senses to deliver a raw and powerful story. Both books are fabulous.


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