A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy Birthday Jan Ormerod (Lizzie Nonsense) and Gary Crew (Memorial).
- Neptune, the first planet in our solar system found by mathematic prediction rather than observation, was discovered in 1846. Read Next Stop Neptune by Alvin Jenkins, illustrated by Steve Jenkins.
- In 1962, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City opens with the completion of the Philharmonic Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic. Read The Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin, illustrated by Marc Simont.
- Itâ€™s Love Note Day. Read Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes by Peggy Gifford, illustrated by Valorie Fisher.
- Itâ€™s also Dogs in Politics Day. Read My Senator and Me: A Dogâ€™s Eye View of Washington, D.C. by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, illustrated by David Small, and First Dog by J. Patrick Lewis and Beth Zappitello, illustrated by Tim Bowers.
For National Dog Week, which began yesterday, Iâ€™d like to look at a highly original and amusing protagonist, Thacher Hurdâ€™s Art Dog.Â In terms of childrenâ€™s book, Thacher Hurd has lived a charmed life. He was the son of not only one, but two, great childrenâ€™s book creatorsâ€”writer Edith Thacher Hurd and artist Clement Hurd, who illustrated many classics including Goodnight Moon. As a child Thacher met Margaret Wise Brown, Maurice Sendak, and Don Freeman, all friends of his parents. Sometimes this led to not-so-desirable situationsâ€”Margaret Wise Brown once wanted young Thacher to sleep in an all-fur room that she had made for him, butÂ Thacher didnâ€™t find it to his liking!
But just as his father was known for his gentleness and quietness in books, Thacher went on to create titles that have been described as zany, high-octane, and fast-paced. In 1996 Thacher presented the saga of Arthur Dog, guard of the Dogopolis Museum of Art by dayâ€”where he protects masterpieces inspired by Pablo Poodle, Henri Muttisse, and Vincent Van Dogâ€”but a crime fighter and graffiti artist by night. He drives the Brushmobile, with a tank that gets filled up with bright colors at the Acme Paint Company.Â Rather than exclaiming â€śBamâ€ť or â€śPowâ€ť like other super heroes, Art Dog is more likely to say â€śTouchĂ©â€ť or â€śPaint!â€ť When Dog Vinciâ€™s painting â€śMona Woofaâ€ť is stolen, Art Dog sets out to find the culpritâ€”because he himself has been accused of its theft.
While working on the book, Thacher turned to Maurice Sendak for advice. He also received input from his wife, Olivia, who has been at his side as critic for many years and reads all the dummies for his books. Both encouraged Thacher to revise the original story and make the plot tighter. Often editors get credit, and should, for helping shape a book. But in the case of Art Dog a childhood mentor and Thacherâ€™s wife helped him create a book that has thrilled critics and children alike; Art Dog has won the Vermont Red Clover Award, selected by children of the state.
Art Dog naturally lends itself to learning activities like identifying the painters spoofed in the book or even having children take their favorite paintings and replace the main character with a dog. Those in the Seattle, Washington, area will be able to see a musical based on Art Dog this season.
The rest of us just need to pick up this timeless book and enjoy the humor and the mayhem.
Here’s a page from Art Dog:
Originally posted September 23, 2011. Updated for .