I Am a Puppy
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: I Am a Puppy
Author: Ole Risom
Major Themes: Board Book, Dogs
Synopsis: In this lovely board book with very detailed pictures, a beagle puppy describes his life.
My first experience with I Am a Puppy was when I was in my teens and a relative gave this board book to one of my little brothers. He loved it, and I remember noticing the detail in the illustrations. Several years later, when I had my own children (I think my oldest was probably about two at the time), I found another copy of it at a yard sale. It has been a favorite in our family ever since! Our baby hasn’t quite started noticing it, but I just read it to my 3-year-old for probably the hundredth time. I think I could quote most of it from memory! “I am a puppy. My name is Bruno. I am a beagle.” Yes, I just double-checked and was word-perfect!
The text is easy to read and brief, and not inane like so many board books. I really don’t mind reading and rereading this one. The pictures, however, are the best part. They are paintings, and so lifelike you can instantly recognise the various plants and animals shown. The scenes are very typical of the area I grew up in, the Midwest of America. You’ll see creatures such as a 13-lined ground squirrel and a painted turtle, and plants such as red clover, yarrow, and dandelion. The detail illustrator Jan Pfloog put into these pictures is amazing!
I Am a Puppy will always be one of my very favorite board books. I almost forgot—I wanted to mention a memory associated with it. Back at the time I found it at the yard sale, my brothers, who still lived at home, had a beagle. Bill, as they called him, had wandered in one day and they kept him. He loved to chase rabbits, as beagles do, and there is a picture in this book of the puppy chasing a rabbit. My little girl recognized that the puppy in the pictures was just like Bill, and she thought I was reading the book wrong—instead of Bruno, the story should have read Bill!