There once was a dog named Alfie. He was a Maltipoo, a guitar player, and a singer. For a small dog, Alfie had a big dream. He wanted to have his own band and to play great music.
Alfie decided to ask his best friends to play in his band. He asked Raxl, the Chihuahua, (Chee-WAH-WAH), Tubby the Morkie, and Ollie, a fancy French dog called a Coton du Tulear, (Caught-ON-de-TOO-LEAR). Raxl played keyboard, rhythm guitar, saxophone, and the tambourine. She also liked to sing. Tubby played bass guitar. He sang too. Ollie played the drums and all sorts of percussion instruments, including the bongo and bones.
Alfie and his friends called themselves, Dog Band. Now they just had to figure out what kind of band to be and what kind of music to pay.
“Why don’t we ask our friends for suggestions?” said Raxl.
Alfie and his friends set off to ask various friends about the kind of music the dog band should play. Each of the friends is identified by name and breed of dog or type of animal. In addition to readers learning about a host of dog breeds, including Shih Tzu, Shar Pei, Bambino Shetland Sheepdog, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, other animals are named. A turtle, an iguana, a bunny, a finch, a hamster, a guinea pig, a toad, a White Tree Frog, a cockatoo, a miniature horse, a newt, a better fish, a blue-point Siamese cat, and a seal-point Siamese cross are all asked about the kind of music the band should play.
Alfie and his friends get many suggestions from their friends. These include rock, jazz, hip hop, folk music, reggae, opera, swing, rock and roll, the blues, country music, musical theatre, and classical music.
At the end of the journey, Mr. Frodo, the Siamese cat, gave Alfie his best advice by saying, “You must choose what feels right for you.”
The full page, colour illustrations are in cartoon format. They are drawn to show the characteristics of the animal and the instruments they depict.
Dog Band is dense with information about animal names, with pronunciations included, and genres of music, with a description of each type of music and the instruments usually associated with that genre. The text is rich with musical vocabulary, such as, “lick on his guitar”, “ditty on a saxophone”, “key with a trill”, and “bluesy riff on the harmonica.”
Children will enjoy reading Dog Band or having it read to them. The illustrations and the text will encourage many questions from the reader as the topics are dealt with briefly and each topic could be explored much further. This book could be used to introduce music concepts and also for unit of study about animals, including pets.
Elizabeth Brown, a retired teacher-librarian, formerly worked for Winnipeg One School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba.