Review of Woof: A Love Story by Sarah Weeks, illustrated by Holly Berry

Woof: A Love Story
A dog is a dog
and a cat is a cat
And most of the time
it’s as simple as that. . . .
Or is it?

What’s a dog to do when he falls in love with the cat next door? Bark? Chase his tail? Dig up a “brass bone” and hope that the universal language of music will help him to express his feelings?

This humorous and heartfelt story is about the power of love and the power of music, told through the eyes of a lovelorn dog and the cat he adores. (From Goodreads.com.)

             

Release date: November 24th, 2009
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 32
Source: Library book

What a lovely little story! I tried to write this review in rhyme to pay homage to the book, but my skill is not as great as Sarah Weeks’, so I had to give it up. Woof: A Love Story is the story of a dog who usually does dog things, until one day, he smells a cat and falls in love. The problem is, every time he tries to tell her nice things, all she hears is dog sounds! They can’t understand each other, so the cat is afraid of him. But then…the dog discovers music, and finally the cat understands how he feels.

There are so many wonderful qualities to this book: an engaging story, teaching that music conveys feelings, it’s fun to hear and fun to read, and it’s a great little book to talk about poetic elements with a stronger reader (1st to 4th grades), as well. The story makes use of rhyme, metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, alliteration, and more. I sense great instructional moments here.

As for the opinion of a real-life child: Little S adored this story. I sense we will be keeping it the full two weeks from the library, and probably even buying it at the store. Though I’m personally not a huge fan of the illustration style, which features bold colors and a cut & paste cardstock look, Little S kept delightedly pointing to the pages, finding hidden items and linking the story words to the pictures. She seemed to love the illustrations, and thinking about it further, I think that this book will still be a hit with boys despite the “sappy” story because of the un-girly illustrations. And of course she had great fun with the story itself, especially because cats and dogs are very familiar animals to her.

Even we adults enjoyed the story. Daddy Dino read it to the Littles for bedtime, and on our way down the stairs talking, we had to laugh at each other for unconsciously adopting the rhythm of the book. “I keep expecting you to speak in rhyme!” I admitted to him. As an experienced picture book reader, I know that rhyming text doesn’t always work well, Dr. Seuss aside. Woof: A Love Story pulls it off beautifully. The rhyming adds a lot to the experience of the book, especially because it goes along with the idea that music can communicate emotion.

In short, this delightful and quirky story about a dog who falls in love with a cat is a great addition to any shelf.

Our rating?

Two out of Five Stars

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