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Blogling reviews…Big H and Little h Dog

Blogling was sent a copy of this charming charity book, based on a true story of love, hope and bravery.


Written by Victoria Smith and illustrated by Sketchy La Rue, Big H and Little h Dog was created to support Harrison’s Fund, a charity set up to fund research into Muscular Dystrophy, and named after a young man living with this life-limiting condition.


The first thing to say is, anyone willing to give up their time to write and illustrate a story to support a charity has won at life already, and anyone buying this book is supporting a very worthy cause. So, regardless of the content, this book deserves to be in people’s shopping baskets.


However, as this is a book review, I suppose we should dive a little deeper.


Plot

Big H and Little h Dog is an allegory for Harrison’s story. It tells the tale of a little dog who is desperate to chase balls in the park like other dogs, but can’t due to his weak muscles. His kind-hearted owner, Big H, works tirelessly to help Little h Dog fulfil his dream, with the help of a Super Vet and lots of generous people.


This was always going to be a heart-warming and poignant story. The fact it reflects the real-life hopes and challenges of a young boy means you can’t help but feel emotional reading it. The message is simple and uplifting, focused on hope and never giving up.


Storytelling

There’s some great use of humour in the first couple of pages, including references to bottom-sniffing, which will always bring a smile to the faces of small children and Bloglings alike. It would have been nice to see more of this humour throughout the book, but that is challenging given the subject matter.

The pacing of the story could be tightened. We quickly learn that Little h Dog has a dream, and faces barriers, but have to wait a further 5 spreads to find out what that barrier is. When that happens, it is done really well; it just would have been better sooner.

The story is told in the 3rd person and, because Little h Dog is, well, a dog, he has no dialogue. I would love to hear the story from the dog’s point of view, even if it were through thoughts. Having said this, the illustrations do a great job of conveying Little h Dog’s emotions, so it works out in the end.


The story concludes well, coupling great pictures with uplifting sentiments.


Illustrations

Sketchy La Rue’s cute, colourful and cartoony illustrations complement the story very well. They are hand-drawn and have a ‘homemade’ feel to them, but this is exactly how it should be – this is not a supermarket bestseller, but a product of the illustrator’s generosity and passion.


The Bottom Line

Could the book be improved? Yes. It would definitely benefit from tightening of the pacing and better sequencing to improve the flow. Does this matter? Not really. As mentioned above, this isn’t trying to compete with Julia Donaldson on the shelves of Sainsbury’s; it’s trying to raise money to help children with one of the cruellest conditions, by telling the story of one such child and his dad in a fun, friendly and inventive way. It raises awareness, raises money and raises a smile. That’s got to be worth a few pounds of anyone’s money.


Disclosure: Blogling was sent a copy of this book by the Author. Blogling has made a voluntary donation of the value of the book to Harrison’s Fund.

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