This month’s Children’s Classics carnival is all about dog stories, and since I’m the once who suggested it, I thought I’d better come up with something good. : ) Thankfully, this was not difficult to do; good dog stories are plentiful. In fact, the question actually was, which one should I read?
I chose to share Ribsy by Beverly Cleary with my children as a read-aloud. We had just finished Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic (read my review of the original Mrs. Piggle Wiggle story here), and I was ready for an easier book to read aloud. My girls love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, but it is a little tricky to read aloud, especially if your tongue is as easily tripped up as mine. Although I know I read Beverly Cleary as a child, I had no specific memories of the Ribsy stories, so I was delighted to find that it is a perfect read-aloud for my family. My girls, ages almost-5 and 3 1/2, loved it. Lulu sat through two entire chapters without a break and with no complaints (never mind that much of this time was spent in the bathroom, nay, in the bath tub, covered in pillows and blankets as we waited for tornadic weather to pass). Louise enjoyed it, too, although her listening is typically more active than Lulu’s.
Ribsy is the sweet and simple story of Ribsy the mutt, who gets lost from his owner at the beginning of the story, and all of his adventures and misadventures as he tries to make his way back to his boy, Henry Huggins. Since this story was first copyrighted in 1964, some of the things in the story are quite dated by now. However, I enjoyed describing to my children a station wagon and a fire escape (I’m not sure that this is something that’s dated or just something we’ve never encountered in our mid-sized town). There is nothing at all complicated about this story which makes it all the more enjoyable and beautiful. This was a great introduction to the much-lauded Beverly Cleary, and since she is such a prolific author, there are plenty more of her books to look forward to, both about dogs and not.