Christine McDonnell

children’s book author, educator, librarian

McDonnell flower border

Dog Wants to Play

Dog Wants to Play

written by Christine McDonnell
illustrated by Jeff Mack
Viking Books for Young Readers, 2009
ISBN 978-0670011261
ages 2 to 5

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Dog wants to play. When? Today!

But no one will play with Dog. Not the chick or the lamb, the calf or the pig. Poor Dog! Isn?t there one playmate who will play with Dog all day long? With its structure of rhyme and repetition, this is the perfect book to prepare children for reading, and Jeff Mack?s exuberant and funny pictures will keep them turning the pages to enjoy the fun.


“Subtle and sweet.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“In this charming and simply told story, Dog approaches the farm’s kitten, lamb, hare, chick, pig, and calf, who all give excuses as to why they cannot play ball with him. “‘I don’t dare,’ says the hare. ‘I’m too easy to scare.'” Dog looks utterly dejected, his head resting forlornly on a blue, starred ball, when he sees a pair of hands out of the corner of his eye. They belong to a little boy, who is ready to play “All day!” Full of life, the paintings capture the personalities of the animals, especially Dog, who exhibits expressions from hopeful excitement to sadness to joy. This is a good addition to farm-themed storytimes, especially because it is so subtle in its locale, focusing entirely on the endearing brown-and-white pup with floppy ears.” (School Library Journal)

“One look at the appealing cover will entice the reader to join the perky, brown and white puppy, whose paw rests upon a big blue ball and whose expression clearly telegraphs his desire: it’s time to play, and now! Told in intermittent rhyme (‘I’m too small,’ says the chick. ‘Find another to pick’), the story involves a series of barnyard animals turning down the puppy’s offer: the kitten declines, the lamb is too shy, the pig wants to dig, the calf just laughs, and so on. Poor Dog. But wait—there’s one more to ask. ‘Yes,’ says the child, I love to be wild. I’ll play…. All day!” Textured, sun-kissed painted images put bounce into the simple story and capture Dog’s realistic body poses. Preschoolers will understand Dog’s dilemma, and on a second reading, sharp eyes will catch glimpses of the boy in the background of the scenes leaving clues to the perfect playmate.” (Booklist)