If I Were a Dog

Philomel. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593116104.
PreS-K–A small child, likely a girl, narrates about all the things she would be or do if she were a dog. The vocabulary is simple and sticks to easy descriptors like “nosy” or “silly” to describe both dogs and the speaker, which makes the text charmingly relatable. The text itself is clear and separate from the illustrations, sometimes changing size or shape to emphasize certain words. Cotler’s detailed drawings are in various tones of blue, with people in shadow, giving the book a universality: This is every child, this is every dog, this is one child and one dog. The book acts as a terrific analogy for diversity at a level that toddlers will understand; the shadows of people at the beginning and ending of the book only help cement this.
VERDICT An intuitive, joyful book that gives children agency to imagine their own doggy selves, but also creates a foundation for discussions on differences and similarities.

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