Boy Meets Dog: A Word Game Adventure (2013), by Valerie Wyatt

This review was first published in Resource Links Magazine, “Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults.” It appears in volume 19.3.

Illustrated by Dave Whamond

Wyatt-BoyWhen I was in elementary school, our teacher would reward us for efficient work habits by giving out pages with fun, topical challenges: for Language Arts, these included word searches, crosswords, and—my favourite—word ladders. Valerie Wyatt’s Boy Meets Dog is a fabulous compendium of word ladders—short and long—each translating one word into another associated word. Thus a “cat becomes a dog,” “a house might become a mouse, and then a moose,” “tiny may become huge,” and “rain can change to snow.” The ladders range in length from 1 change (toy to boy) to as many as 9 changes (safe to whew). Together, the ladders tell a simple story of a toy becoming a boy, and his cat becoming a dog. The two travel through a childish adventure, short ladders to long and back again to the simple retransformation of the boy back to a toy: “But a dog is too loyal to change.”

More than just a story, Boy Meets Dog is, as advertised, an adventure in words. Children will love the excitement encouraged by Dave Whamond’s lively illustrations, and gratified by the fun and interesting language tricks they learn.

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