In honor of Margaret Wise Brown's recent birthday, I picked up a copy of The Sailor Dog and attempted to read it to a small child. He was more interested in playing with his toy cars, so I read the book for myself, enjoying the dramatic narrative of a dog, Scuppers, who is a sailor.
The story is detailed and rhythmic (though not in rhyme,) following Scuppers' life pretty much from birth to becoming a sailor. He travels around the world and eventually lands in a foreign place. Brown captures the feel of adventure and the call of the sea with an economy of words that still feels rich. Illustrations by Garth Williams are strikingly bright.
There is something familiar about picking up this book, though I have never read it before. Perhaps it is the trademark gold spine of the Little Golden Books, or the feel of the chipboard cover in my hands. I think every child should have at least one classic Little Golden Book in her or her library, and at least one book by Margaret Wise Brown. It is a right of childhood.
Happy Birthday, Margaret Wise Brown.