Children’s Books: “The gospel according to… dog” by Peter D. Ward

The gospel according to... dog: 'the greatest story ever told'... by a dogThe gospel according to… dog: ‘the greatest story ever told’… by a dog by Peter D. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Come Lazarus!’ I have never heard the Wisest One shout so loudly.

‘Come, Lazarus… come out to me!’ again he shouted.

The Great Ones [men] all looked at each other uneasily, the smell of fear coming off them as sharp as any skunk. But my ears were pinched back, and I heard what they could not hear: a wondrous thing, a little sigh as gentle as the breeze, and then a scratching, scruffling noise and something being put to one side — the leftover spices, perhaps in a jar being moved? …

I watched in wonder and could barely keep myself from shouting and dancing and chasing my tail — for in all my days I have never seen anything like this. Suddenly the woman — I realized at once she was the mother of Lazarus — came rushing up and ran straight into the resting-place. There was a shriek of joy and then such weeping it would tear your heart in two if you didn’t know it was tears of you that were being wept. …

Kal is Peter the Fisherman’s dog, rescued when he was just a puppy from a group of tormenting boys. He tells us the Gospel story from a canine point of view, including all the senses the we don’t notice! Did you know that lepers are delicious to lick and even have a convenient bell to let Kal know they are coming? When Jesus (the Wisest One) heals them it is is a great disappointment because they taste just like regular men again.

Any kid from about the age of 8 who has a basic understanding of the gospel story would enjoy this different view of it. In fact, I enjoyed it quite a bit myself. Kal’s different viewpoint will not only open up the gospel but might prompt children to wonder how their pets understand them and the family events unfolding in daily life.

I really loved the way the book graphically conveyed Kal’s sense of smell with “Smellavision” dots of different colors strategically scattered on pages to give an extra layer of information. I wasn’t crazy about the illustrations which were done in a very child-like style but, again, that is a matter of personal taste and they don’t detract from enjoyment of the story itself.

The story has humor, pathos, drama, and many interesting smells! I can definitely recommend this to imaginative readers, whether young or old.

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