As a doglover and owner, and what’s the word for it – dogophile? – I am a sucker for books about dogs. Particularly good picture books about dogs.
Benji is the family dog of the unnamed child who tells the story. Benji bears an uncanny similarity to most of the labradors I have owned – he’s game to try anything and has a tendency to wander in search of food.
The narrator is less adventurous but does finally agree that eating meals at mealtimes is probably a good thing for a kid to do. He and Benji also agree that celery is non-negotiable and possibly not even a food. (I don’t know quite why I think the narrator is a boy but I had to choose a pronoun!)
Pete Carter’s text is simple and clear, and mildly humorous, but the illustrations really make this book. James Henderson has done a wonderful job of making Benji leap off the pages. There’s a lovely moment when a dinner guest surreptitiously gives Benji his broccoli – that will delight most children I know!
I think it’s just delightful and recommend it highly. It’s good for kids who may not be keen on regular eating, for kids who may not be so fond of dogs – you can’t fail to like Benji – and there’s a delight on each page.
Reviewed by Sue Esterman
Our dog Benji
by Pete Carter and James Henderson