Go, Dog, Go!

Go, Dog, Go!

September 5, 2018

Why, Dog, Why?

I think maybe I had this book as a child. There are just parts of it that seem really familiar, like the part with the different-colored dogs on different-colored trees, and the picture of the dog sitting on top of a house and another dog sitting underneath the house. But if I did have this book, it apparently didn't stick in my mind as much as lots of other books I had, like "Fox in Socks" or "The Maggie B."

This is a very basic book, like "baby's first book of words" basic. Half of it is opposites and descriptions. The first page is: "Dog." That's it. The second page is: "Big dog." The third page is "Little dog." Thankfully, it builds a little bit from there, and the next page is, "Big dogs and little dogs." More than twice the word count of the previous ones! It's like teaching children how to use plurals. These aren't even complete sentences, just noun phrases. Most of the dogs aren't "doing" anything. Scattered throughout the book are these repeated meetings of two dogs that I have seen people reference on the internet as being subtly sexist. A presumably male dog (maybe that is in itself sexist?) meets a feminine dog, who asks him if he likes her hat. She is always wearing a different hat, and until the end of the book, he always replies that he does not like it, and she leaves, disappointed. On the last spread, he responds that he does like her hat, and they drive off together into the sunset. As others before me have pointed out, this just reinforces the cultural message that females need to please males (and of course her reward for doing so is to get together with him). Maybe these two dogs are married? And they're trying to go somewhere together, but he keeps rejecting her choice of clothing? But that doesn't make any sense with them encountering each other while skiing on mountaintops, for example. It's just weird that they leave the party and end the book once the approval is bestowed.

"A red dog on a blue tree. A blue dog on a red tree." And lots of dogs in cars, which lots of kids are into. Prepositions and their opposites. "The sun is up. The sun is yellow. The yellow sun is over the house." This is seriously "Dick and Jane" type stuff. So boring. No story, just dogs doing various things. They drive around, almost kill a bird with their cars, sleep in one giant bed together, party when they wake up, and then all head to a really tall tree and have another party on top of it. Just sitting and walking around on it, like it's a solid surface, except for the dogs that are half inside it.

It's boring and it doesn't go anywhere. I would like to say, as I have in other reviews of similar books, that children will learn language without it being explicitly taught to them, as long as they are around other people who speak it. They do not need to be explicitly taught a list of prepositions like they're vocabulary words. Children don't need this book.


Here are a bunch of words and dogs.

Publication Year
Age Range
Number of Pages
Number of words on a typical page
Submitted by Hillbilly (not verified) Sat, 08/22/2020 - 13:05

I love this book. I really do. I do not need a review from YOU!
Good grief with the cynical over analysis of a children’s book. I believe the book was written to be simple entertainment for young minds with no ulterior motive. The End

Submitted by Cassandra Gelvin Sat, 08/22/2020 - 17:21

In reply to by Hillbilly (not verified)

Wait, if you don't need a review from me, why are you even on my site?

Submitted by Alpha Dog (not verified) Sat, 08/29/2020 - 09:00

Dr Seuss was just perpetuating the 1920’s sexism that he grew up with, and some of his works keep the message going. Woof!

Submitted by Cassandra Gelvin Fri, 02/19/2021 - 14:28

In reply to by David (not verified)

Correct, this book was not written by Dr. Seuss. It was written and illustrated by P.D. Eastman, also known for "Are You My Mother?" and illustrating a Michael Frith book called "I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) Fri, 09/25/2020 - 20:05

This is stupidity at its finest. You're clearly reading way to deep into a children's book if you're pulling sexist undertones out of Go Dog Go. The feminine dog does not leave disappointed, as you say. They each day goodbye and go their separate ways.

Submitted by Lauren (not verified) Mon, 01/04/2021 - 19:05

Dated gender stereotyping aside, I don’t think anyone actually reads this book to children. It isn’t a book you read to a child. It is a book a beginning reader reads to himself/herself. For example, you have a page with a blue dog on it that just says “blue dog.” Of course, children in the target age range (3 to 7 years) have no problems speaking in complete sentences and do not need to be taught the concepts of “blue” or “dog.” They are learning how to read, through phonics and sight words, the words “blue” and “dog.” Then they need to read the words “blue” and “dog”,over and over again because the kid needs practice—decoding practice—not because they don’t get what a blue dog is. This would be one of the very first books a new reader would read, when he/she only can recognize a few words. Not saying it is the world’s best easy reader (dated gender roles, for example) but criticizing a first reader for repeated use of simple words, sentence fragments, explicit illustrations, and lack of literary complexity is silly. A first reader requires all of these things. It is not a “vocabulary list” of prepositions or any other part of speech. A five year old (native English speaker) is well aware of what all of these words mean. They are literally curated to be the most common and simple words in the English language. The kid just needs to practice reading these commonly encountered words over and over until they can do it effortlessly. And they’re not thinking about theme or character development, they are 100% focused on decoding. Will concede that books like this have a little to offer a person who can read fluently, and will probably be put aside once a child has mastered it (and that probably won’t take long.) Like I said, this specific book may not be the world’s best easy reader. But children do need books like this at a very specific point in their lives.

Submitted by David (not verified) Fri, 02/19/2021 - 14:06

I've read all these series to my children. I've never noticed...I don't think I did...until I read it to my grandson. That the two dogs when they meet and depart say good "by" instead of "bye". What's up with that?

Submitted by Cassandra Gelvin Fri, 02/19/2021 - 14:30

In reply to by David (not verified)

"Good by" is an alternate spelling of "good bye" or "goodbye." It's kind of an outdated way of spelling it.

Submitted by Liss (not verified) Tue, 03/16/2021 - 18:22

I'm saddened by your review. I loved reading this book to my kids. Who, remarkably read by age 3 and both graduated from college with honors. Its basic. Colors, fun and interactive for toddlers. Let them be children.

Submitted by Cassandra Gelvin Tue, 03/16/2021 - 23:21

In reply to by Liss (not verified)

Why is it that if I'm not falling over myself complimenting a book, people think I hate it?