Picking the right dog for you and your family can be a big challenge but help is at hand in Picking Pickle! Pickle, a veteran of the dogs’ home, is very happy to introduce us to a variety of different breeds of dog so that we can decide which one we would most like to take home.
Bouncy, slightly scruffy looking Pickle is a really endearing character and his enthusiasm and eagerness to please draws us straight into the story. We think it’s great that readers can decide whether Pickle is male or female (the text allows you to decide, our daughter decided male). He’s generously full of compliments about his friends and does his best to help us choose the perfect dog so that when he retreats into his basket to await the readers’ decision it really pulls at your heart strings.
Picking Pickle is a real page turner and with eight very different dogs to choose from plus a very energetic narrator, who loves to play ball and have his tummy tickled, there’s a lot to consider when making your choice! Pickle reminds me of the first dog that we had when I was a child and we were also delighted to discover that one of the dogs is called Harvey, we have a golden labrador called Harvey in our family. We definitely wouldn’t be able to afford a high maintenance dog like Poochy Petunia Wuffles-Winstanley but we are very impressed by Dumpling’s language ability.
Clara Vulliamy’s illustrations are full of energy and the dogs have some fantastic facial expressions, particularly Pickle who doesn’t look too impressed when Boo-Boo sits on his head. We must also mention Matilda’s marvellous (but slightly scary!) teeth, she is perfect for anybody looking for a guard dog. The endpapers are particularly clever, the first one gives us subtle clues about the dogs we’re going to meet and the final one shows how each dogs’ story ends.
We absolutely love the way that Picking Pickle is such an interactive reading experience. It would be great to see more books in this style, books that encourage discussion and interaction between the reader and a character are great for language development and can stimulate so much learning. Picking Pickle would be a fabulous book to use in an Early Years classroom, children could draw their own dog for a wall display or class book. It can open up discussion about pet care, different breeds of dogs, dogs’ homes and it would also be fun to use in a numeracy lesson. Children can be introduced to the concept of voting for their favourite dog and then recording their findings on a class graph to see which dog gets the most votes. You could even have a bring your dog to school day and invite a local vet in to talk about looking after your dog.
So, ‘which dog will you choose?’. Pickle is waiting to find out…
Age Range: 3 +