The Best Doggo: A Review of Thoughts of Dog by Matt Nelson
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
**I received a free electronic copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Use of images for review purposes only.**
Two of my all-time favorite Twitter accounts are @dog_feelings and @dog_rates. There’s nothing better than getting a creative glimpse into a dog’s brain or seeing user-submitted doggos receive 15/10 for wearing costumes and being the “goodest” boys and girls in their everyday lives. The mastermind behind all of this is Matt Nelson, whose new book, Thoughts of Dog releases Tuesday, October 27th, 2020.
From the Back Cover
“Join a dog and their stuffed ‘fren’ [S]ebastian as they navigate life’s adventures through the most wholesome lens imaginable.”
If you want to smile for a book's entirety, this is the book for you. Thoughts of Dog is a quick read and would be make a great coffee table book for a dog lover (or anyone who enjoys cute things). It reads like a well-read dog's prose poetry, with spellings of "fren" and lowercase "i's," as a cherry on top of the puppy vernacular.
The book is structured in delightful vignettes in which our hero, who I shall call Dog, goes on adventures with his favorite toy, an elephant named Sebastian. I don't want to spoil all of the fun, so here are a few of my favorites: "4th of July," "Halloween," and "Mailman."
Taken from p. 55 of Thoughts of Dog
Albeit one of the most obvious topics to cover is the 4th of July when speaking about what is going on in a dog's mind, Nelson does this with immense heart and eloquence. Dog and his human go to a shelter during the holiday to comfort dogs who are frightened by the fireworks. Dog sweetly allows Sebastian to stay with Oreo, a shelter dog, because Dog believes Sebastian is more in need there. These sentiments fill the text and remind me of the intelligent things dogs do when they know a person or another animal is hurting. Dog's thought process in this vignette, as well of the others, is reminiscent of the thought process I imagine for my mom's dog Charlie. She is an incredibly sweet dog with an advanced emotional intelligence, just like Dog.
Taken from p. 83 of Thoughts of Dog
Sebastian is just as much the center of attention as Dog. The further you read, the more it feels like a delightful buddy comedy. The stuffed toy may not be able to move on his own, but he has just as much personality as Dog. I love the simple art style throughout, and the above image reminds me of when someone explains something very complicated to me, and I just nod my head. Seeing the humanity come through kept me fully engaged.
Taken from p. 113 of Thoughts of Dog
The story that left the most lasting impact on me was that of the mailman. I was almost in tears. Dog attempts to navigate his experiences with a new mailman and it is discovered through a picture in the mail truck and the gift of an old toy, that the mailman's dog has passed away. If you have ever lost a dog this will truly speak to you. This is part of the true mastery that is this book, where understanding the human experience through a dog's eyes is deeply profound. Dog puts together the evidence and is a compassionate soul and source of comfort for the grieving mailman. I'm almost sobbing as I write this!
I highly recommend this book for adults and children alike that need a little joy in their lives. It is a great illustration (pun fully intended) for children to broaden their creativity and understand why dogs do what they do. Also, if your child wants a dog (or if you do) and can't have one, buy this book instead. Trust me. It'll tide you over until you get your goodest boy or girl.
This book in 1 GIF:
Thoughts of Dog
Author: Matt Nelson (Illustrated by Malory Pacheco)
Hardcover list price: $14.99 USD (also available in e-book)
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