There is a saying that every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one. In Dogfish, a young boy already has a pet goldfish but still wants a dog more than anything. Unfortunately, his mother is less interested in getting another pet. The boy tries his most convincing arguments, uses his hypnotizing eyes, and gives her his best sad look but she will not be swayed. “After a bit my mom says, ‘Well, if you can’t have what you want, you could try to want what you have.’ She ALWAYS says things like that.”
So, the boy decides to do all the things with his fish that he’d planned to do with a dog. They play fetch, go for walks, and soon the boy realizes that he doesn’t just have a fish, he has a dogfish. Children will identify with the boy and his desire to have a dog. They will possibly also recognize the mother’s refusal to entertain the idea. Shields takes a very humorous, yet sympathetic approach to the boy’s situation and finds a way to give the story a happy ending even though he doesn’t get the dog he’s been pining for. Taylor’s illustrations are colorful and add to the humor of the story.
Check the WRL catalog for Dogfish.