A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
SEPTEMBER 20:

  • Happy birthday Arthur Geisert (Ice; Oops!), Catherine Thimmesh (Team Moon), Michael J. Rosen (Elijah's Angel), and Donald Hall (The Ox-Cart Man).
  • It’s the birth date of Miska Petersham (1888-1960) The Rooster Crows.
  • Author Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) was also born on this day. Read Muckrakers: How Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair and Lincoln Steffens Helped Expose Scandal, Inspire Reform, and Invent Investigative Journalism by Ann Bausum.
  • In 1663, Galileo Galilei was tried before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for teaching students the Earth orbits the Sun. Read Starry Messenger by Peter SĂ­s.
  • In 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science was created. Read Science Verse by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith.

The heroes of our book of the day do not even have names. But the canines in P. D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go!, an offering for National Dog Week, which begins on Sunday, are some of the fastest, and funniest, dogs to appear in a children’s book.

After the success of Dr. Seuss’s, Cat in the Hat, Bennett Cerf of Random House convinced Seuss, his wife Helen, and Cerf’s wife Phyllis to form an editorial board that would shape stories suitable for children just learning to read, the Beginner Books series. Seuss would not only write two other very successful books for the series, Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, but he would also published P. D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? Philip Dey Eastman followed up this great book with an even more exciting title, Go, Dog. Go!

In a mere seventy-five words, Eastman manages to portray a group of dogs engaged in high-speed activities and madness. “Dogs in cars again./Going away./Going away fast./Look at those dogs go./Go, dog. Go!” These dogs drive around in cars and finally meet at a party. Three times a pink poodle asks a yellow dog, “Do you like my hat?” And he doesn’t! Then on her fourth try, the dog adores the poodle’s outrageous party hat—and they drive off into the sunset together.

As an antidote to the boring Dick and Jane stories found in school readers, such a text can’t help but engage young readers with a small vocabulary. Who wouldn’t want to read about speeding dogs rather than slow children! As our first National Ambassador for Children’s Books, Jon Scieszka wrote in Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book:

“At school I was trying to learn to read by deciphering stories featuring two lame kids named Dick and Jane. They never did much of anything exciting. And they talked funny. If this was reading, I wondered why anyone would bother.

Then I found Go, Dog. Go! . . . The book seemed so much more real to me (so much more like my family of five brothers) than the books about those strange kids with funny speech patterns.

And that hat. That hat may mean more than we ever know.”

Well, even if this book saved only Jon Scieszka as a reader, we would owe Eastman a debt of gratitude. But, of course, Go, Dog. Go! continues to convince millions of children that books can contain wild and crazy stories. And you can even learn punctuation from the title—a comma, period, and exclamation point. Go, Dog. Go!

Here’s a page from Go, Dog. Go!:
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Originally posted September 20, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Animals, Dogs, Humor
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Go, Dog. Go!
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COMMENTS

  1. Linda C. says:

    Thanks for starting my day with Go, Dogs, Go, and a smile! What a great book. It is always a hit with kindergarten children.

  2. Joyce Sidman says:

    Anita, this is another of my absolute favs. My husband and I still say to each other, “Do you like my hat?” “No, I do not.”

  3. Anita says:

    Joyce: As my trademark is hat wearing, you can understand that this line haunts me!

  4. Audrey says:

    I had no idea there were OTHER families out there asking “Do you like my hat?” and being told, “No, I do not.”

    Anita, you started my morning right with this sentence: Who wouldn’t want to read about speeding dogs rather than slow children!

    Thank you for that.

  5. Bigfoot says:

    GO, DOG. GO! and ARE YOU MY MOTHER? were, are, and I suspect always will be my absolute favorite books. No wonder those dogs were in such a hurry. I’d be in a rush, too, if I were invited to a dog party in a tree.

  6. Carter says:

    I am 33 years old and I have a copy of this on my bedside table! My dad taught me how to read it when I was a wee girl, and I gave him a copy of it the day I left for college.

    I do like your hat!

  7. G. Perry says:

    Love the title and art.
    .
    Can’t wait to read it.

    Gotta introduce that hat line to my family.

  8. No better party to be invited to!

  9. Kristy Lockhart says:

    “It’s a dog party!”
    I absolutely love this book, though I didn’t read it as a child myself. I was nanny to a little boy a few years back who had a lovely pop-up version of it. We read it at least 3 times a day for a year until all the little pop up dogs were looking a little worse for the wear. Wonderful choice.

  10. I love the tradition that Seuss and Eastman started of fun, comical, and exciting easy readers that get children and adults laughing and smiling alike.

  11. Susan Monday says:

    My sons always enjoyed reading this book as toddlers! Our favorite part was the big dog party at the end of the story.

  12. Laura G.Turcotte says:

    LOVED this as a kid, now my kids love it too!

  13. Sarah Tuttle says:

    Thank you so much for reminding me of this book! It was one of my absolute favorites as a child, and I’m going to go out and buy it to give as a gift to a toddler I know.

  14. Whitney says:

    It seems whenever I use the phrase “Do you like my hat?” I end up explaining why that’s such an important phrase to someone else who has never read this book. It makes me very happy to see here that there are, in fact, many others who hold this work and that phrase in the esteem that it deserves.

  15. Anita says:

    Since I wear hats, the line, “Do you like my hat?” is dear to me.

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