‘Capturing perfectly the character, companionship and camaraderie (and sometimes… the chaos) that a dog naturally brings to a home, this is a heartfelt story that’ll warm the hearts of animal lovers everywhere.’
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Title: Danny and the Dream Dog
Author: Fiona Barker (@Fi_BGB)
Illustrator: Howard Gray (@hwigray)
Publisher: Tiny Tree (@TinyTreeBooks)
Page count: 32
Date of publication: 25th October 2018
Series status: N/A
Perfect for Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3.
1. Dreams 💭
2. Dogs 🐕
3. Friendship 💓
Danny really, really wants a dog, but Mum says no.
Find out whether a new neighbour can help Danny achieve his dream and much more besides.
A story about finding friendship in unexpected places.
Review: Danny is like most schoolchildren up and down the country. He dreams of having his very own dog. But unfortunately for him, his dreams come crashing down as his mum puts to a stop to this very thought. So what can he do? Well he’s already asked nicely, pleaded, whined and finally begged… but it all appears that it’s in vain. Doing his best to try to hound(!) his mum to get him a dog, he even does a pretty convincing job at looking after his toy dog.
But mum’s better judgement still wins through as she explains to Danny that this is the sensible option because there’ll be no-one to care for Danny’s dream dog during the day so for now, Danny’s dream dog stays… well… a dream.
That all changes however when a new neighbour moves in downstairs and Danny’s dream becomes a bit closer to home. Mum’s lined him up for the job of walking Mrs Owen’s dog, Maximus and Danny thinks all his Christmases have come at once.
However upon meeting Maximus for the first time, Danny’s best laid plans go awry as Maximus behaves more like a cheeky monkey than a show dog. Rabbit-chasing, squirrel-hunting, puddle-splashing Maximus ends up being the talk of the town, sometimes for all the wrong reasons!
But Maximus is far too loveable to stay mad at and Danny ends up growing increasingly fond of seeing him, but only at the end of the day.
Realising that looking after a dog takes far more effort than he first thought, Danny like the rest of us recognises the power of man’s best friend and falls under his spell… and his wet tongue!
This is a heartfelt story that’ll warm the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. Growing up as someone who’s always had a dog by my side, this book with Howard’s charming illustrations, reminds me why I always have and captures perfectly the character, companionship and camaraderie (and sometimes… the chaos) that a dog naturally brings to a home.
Empathy, education and emotion are at the heart of this touching story that children will want read and re-read again, so much so that it’ll probably end up becoming dog-eared (which is a very good thing!).
I am delighted to welcome Fiona Barker to The Reader Teacher, as part of the Danny and the Dream Dog blog tour, with a brilliant insight in to her working with a charity as part of writing it…
I didn’t write this as an ‘issue’ book or a charity book but when you finish Danny’s story you will see some information about The Cinnamon Trust.
I didn’t write the story with the Trust in mind but once I had written it then it felt very relevant as it covers the theme of how helping someone look after their pet can bring people together. That’s what The Cinnamon Trust does. It’s an amazing charity helping people in their last years and their companion animals, including dogs. The Trust maintains a register of 15,000 volunteers who help owners care for their much-loved pets in their own homes. The Trust helps over 30,000 people and their pets stay together every year. I hoped I could help raise awareness of the charity through telling the story.
While working on the book, I was privileged to meet volunteers Caz and Elaine and dog owners Chris and Tony. You can watch their stories in these short videos:
It really is a win-win-win situation for the owners, volunteers and pets. That’s what we’ve tried to sum up in the penultimate spread.
The Trust is always looking for new volunteers across the UK if you think you might be able to help.
Tips for working with a charity on a book:
Approach them early on in the process
Explain clearly what you are planning
Negotiate what you will provide and what you expect from them – make it clear whether or not this is a financial arrangement or something reciprocal about raising awareness.
Put it in writing – this doesn’t need to be a formal contract but make sure both sides are happy.
Keep them informed throughout the journey to publication.
I’m really looking forward to spreading the word about the Trust at author events and school visits. I’m hoping that along with hearing the story and having some dog-themed fun at an event, children and adults will take home a little bit of knowledge about the Trust and its wonderful volunteers, almost without realising!
Danny and the Dream Dog is available to pre-order online and from any good bookshop.
Big thanks to Fiona for inviting me to be a part of this brilliant blog tour, for writing her fantastic blog post and for sending me an advance copy of Danny and the Dream Dog!