Curator's Choice: GO, DOG, GO!

April 11, 2016 | Nicole

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Welcome to Curator’s Choice!  This Toronto Public Library initiative gives Special Collections and the people who love them a chance to shine every Saturday morning. This week Elizabeth Derbecker was the curator, the location was the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, located at the Lillian H. Smith branch, and the subject of choice was books about dogs.

Illustrator Pauline Baynes is best known for her beautifully detailed pen-and-ink illustrations for the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, but for this book, How Dog Began (1985), she has employed a much simpler style reminiscent of petroglyphs or cave paintings.

How Dog Began

The heart-wrenching tale of Beautiful Joe, a real dog who was rescued from a cruel and abusive situation, is told in Margaret Marshall Saunders’ book of the same name, first published in Toronto in 1894. A monument to Beautiful Joe can be found in Meaford, Ontario and the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society has been established in his name “to celebrate the animal-human bond”.


Beautiful Joe

How to own a dog and like it! (1940), written by veterinarian A.C. Merrick, was designed to explain the basics of dog care, from “Training Your Dog” to “How To Keep Your Dog In Top Condition” to “Doctor Come Quickly!”

How to own a dog and like it

The Dog’s Dinner Party, a lavishly illustrated “toy book” from the 1870s, depicts a Victorian dinner party in extraordinary detail, correct on all points of dress and etiquette except for the fact that the dinner guests are dogs (and the servants are cats!)

The Dog’s Dinner Party

And Stanley’s Party (2003), written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Bill Slavin, shows that not much has changed over the years – dogs still just want to have fun.

Stanleys Party

Other links of interest:

Our next Curator's Choice

Be sure to visit the Osborne Collection on Saturday, April 16 at 11 a.m. for our next Curator's Choice talk! This week's Curator's Choice will feature Trains in Children's Books. This is a casual drop-in programme for everyone to enjoy - please join us! Admission is free.