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.