When Susie Fogg goes for a walk with her dog, Sam, she starts to wonder. Sam is a good dog – he doesn’t dig big holes or bark. But what if Sam turned into something else? He could be… a snake, a yak, a bat… or a dragon! Susie’s imagination starts to run wild.
‘Sam,’ she said,
‘You’re very good,
You never bark or bite.
But just for once
it might be fun
if you changed from dog,’ she said.
‘To something HUGE
or something FIERCE
or something ODD
Lynley Dodd’s well-loved books about another dog, Hairy Maclary, are an institution much adored by New Zealand children over the last thirty-five years. Many will also be familiar with Susie and Sam’s adventures in this classic Lynley Dodd story, A Dragon in a Wagon, first published in 1988. The rhyme not only makes this a fun read, but might encourage kids to read along with you when the words become familiar. As such, it is perfect for those very young right up to early readers and would make a lovely gift for parents and children to enjoy together. The original illustrations will take many back to their childhoods on a walk down memory lane. Susie is a timeless and spunky character. Her big imagination turns a mundane walk into an exciting adventure. As she imagines Sam changing into different animals, suddenly Susie is a vet, a scuba-diver, a knight, and much more.
The board book itself is sturdy, designed to be well read and held by smaller hands. This is a book that can be carried all over the place, indoors and out, and can deal with food splats.
It is a well balanced mix of fantasy and reality, encouraging kids to imagine the world differently than it appears. At the same time, Susie realises that lovable Sam is also perfect the way that he is.
Reviewer, Susannah Whaley
Puffin Books, $15.99