Today I Read…My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks

My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty SocksToday I read My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks and Other Funny Family Portraits by Hanoch Piven.

My teacher asked me to draw my family, but it didn’t look like them, so I made it better. Now you can see my jumpy, fun, nutty daddy, and my soft, bright, yummy mommy, and  my strong, sneaky, piggy big brother, and my loud, Loud, LOUD baby brother, and my stinky, icky, smelly dog Schmutz, and best of all, you can see ME!

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This is a great, very creative story that integrates narrative and visual art and encourages kids to connect physical objects to symbolism. For example, the narrator says her daddy is as playful as a spinning top, and that her mommy is as bright as the brightest light, and shows items like tops and lightbulbs beside the words, and then uses those objects to create the picture of the whole person.

My Dog page 1

My Dog page 2

It’s a very positive story about self-image, since the narrator describes herself last, using all kinds of words like sharp, majestic, colorful, lovely, strong, funny, curious, and with a big heart to love her special family. The book has some words in a larger font, usually the object names beside their picture, so an older reader can point to the words and to their accompanying picture for a beginning reader. The last two pages give examples of adjectives and items which can represent the word, such as using a ruler, numbers, or an owl to show ‘smart’, or a teddy bear, a cotton ball, or a slipper to show ‘soft’.

The Author’s Note says that he got the idea for the book from an art workshop with children and teenagers, where they created family portraits using everyday found objects. This could make a creative, interesting, cheap, and easy art project for all ages, to be done after reading the book.

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