Dot is a hospital dog who lives with her owner Rose. Dot and Rose spend lots of time at the hospital where they comfort patients, parents and even staff. The story provides an insight into a support system for young patients that many readers won’t be aware of and includes a diverse cast of characters, both in terms of disability and ethnicity.
The Story: Dot and Rose’s daily routine includes spending time at the hospital where Dot provides comfort to whoever may need it. One day Dot leaves the hospital with Joe, a little boy who is deaf. Dot’s quick thinking saves Joe when he doesn’t hear a car but Dot’s injuries mean that she needs to spend time recovering. Dot discovers how frustrated and bored it can be when you’re not well but then she gets a wonderful surprise.
The patients in Wallaby Ward are shown in bed, in plaster, with spots, in a wheelchair and with no hair. The illustration of the ward is one of our favourites, it’s bright, colourful and full of visitors and staff as well as patients who are nervous, bored and in pain.
The patients have ‘A pat and a stroke and a cuddle with Dot’ which helps with their individual pain and emotions. She lets children dress her up, calms a doctor and uses sign language. Throughout all of her interactions she has a wonderful doggy smile on her face and knows exactly how to make everybody feel better. We particularly love her interactions with Joe, she even helps him pack his suitcase as he leaves the hospital.
The Hospital Dog is a gentle rhyming story with a lovable main character who evokes our sympathy when she becomes a patient herself. Dot is loved by everybody that she has met at the hospital and their surprise leads to a heartwarming ending to the story.
The story could be used by teachers and parents to stimulate discussion about a hospital stay and introduce children to hospital vocabulary, the Wallaby Ward illustration is particularly full of detail. It’s also a great introduction to the concept of a hospital dog and gives children an opportunity to talk about how they feel when they are ill.
Age Range: 3 +
Thank you to Macmillan Books for sending a review copy of The Hospital Dog. We love the way that Dot gives hugs and support to everyone she meets.