Friday, August 15, 2008


A couple of days ago I saw the news footage of a wild dog-like animal some are calling the fabled Chupacabra. Didn't Scully and Mulder find one? Anyway I was reminded of Haven "Zippy" Kimmel's picture book, Orville A Dog Story.

Orville is a stray dog, ugly and half-starved with a crooked ear and a brown spot above his eye. He's also very large and loud. He barks to communicate with the farmers who take him in, but they don't understand him and he is tied to a chain as all his previous owners have done. Mostly we're in Orville's head as the narrative is in third person.

"Night after night, Orville thought about the world, and all his sadness turned angry. He knew about the broken hearts of people, and how they failed to love or do right, and knowing what he knew just made him want to bark. He took to barking."

Perhaps this tale holds more meaning for an adult, but children understand the sadness of a kicked around old hound. Orville finds a companion in Sally Macintosh. "She was as alone as a person can figure out how to be, and she wished: To visit a county fair. To learn to knit a sweater. To be loved, just once in her life." The best part of the story is that everyone ultimately gets their wishes over time and in a way that is not purely coincidence.

Orville reminds me of yet another children's book that crosses over into adult fiction. It's called, A Day, A Dog, and I blogged a bit about it back in May here. These books would be a great read together to spark discussion and creative writing. And if you haven't yet seen the Chupacabra footage...

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