• Happy birthday Nikki Grimes (Bronx Masquerade); Gennifer Choldenko ( Al Capone Does My Shirts ).
  • It’s the birth date of Crockett Johnson (1906–1975), Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Wylly Folk St. John (1908–1985), The Ghost Next Door.
  • It’s also the birth date of American philosopher and educator John Dewey (1859–1952). Read Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library! by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter, illustrated by Steve James.
  • Due to the onset of World War II, cheese is rationed in the Netherlands, starting on this day in 1940. Read The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairy Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka.
  • Fact or hoax? On this day in 1967, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin supposedly film Bigfoot, a large unidentified creature walking on two legs. Read Bigfoot and Other Legendary Creatures by Paul Robert Walker, illustrated by William Noonan, and Uncle Bigfoot by George O’Connor.
  • It’s the National Day on Writing, brought to you by the National Council of Teachers of English. All kinds of writing is celebrated on this day! Submit your writing to their online gallery.

In October 1992, the board book edition of a title that had already gained a devoted following of picture book fans appeared, Alexandra Day’s Carl Goes Shopping. Often publishers eager for titles for the very young frequently republish material in board books that have originally appeared as standard picture books. For the Carl books, wordless except for a sentence at the beginning and at the end, the board book format allowed the preliterate set to get to know a character they would love, Carl the Rottweiler, without the danger of ripping the pages.

Left to take care of the baby while mother goes on an errand, Carl takes his charge on a wild ride through a department store. In a modern version of Corduroy, Carl hits the elevator button with his paw, carries the baby on his back, and begins to explore department after department. They visit toys, books (Rottweilers I Have Known), hats, and electronics. Carl really gets into the act in the rug, food, and pet department. And then they race back to the place where the baby’s mother left them and are greeted with, “Good dog, Carl!”

Day excels in telling a completely understandable story, which can be embellished by both the child and adult. This book, by the way, reminds me never to leave Lance or Lady alone in a department store! The oil paintings are so precise and full of realistic detail that they make this fantasy shopping trip of a dog and a child seem completely real. And what child wouldn’t want Carl as a caretaker?

Alexandra Day founded Green Tiger Press with her husband. Her first book, Good Dog, Carl, was published by their press. For this book Day used her own Rottweiler as a model; later as the success of the books grew, she began to travel with a Rottweiler, standing in for the fictional Carl, who could execute a variety of tricks and commands. In fact, her canine companions on speaking trips were so well trained that one could even imagine them acting out the detailed tour of a department store shown in Carl Goes Shopping.

So if you have not yet introduced your young readers to this fabulous dog, don’t hesitate. All of the Carl books demonstrate how brilliantly art can tell a story—and how delightful it would be to ride around on Carl, anywhere, anytime.

Here’s a page from Carl Goes Shopping:


Originally posted October 20, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Animals, Dogs
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Carl Goes Shopping


  1. Bookjeannie says:

    Why don’t I know this book? Precisely why I visit every day! Thanks Anita!

  2. Anita says:

    Bookjeannie: I am glad to introduce you to it — and grateful that you visit every day. Anita

  3. Laura says:

    My son loved this book when he was just a little guy (he’s 22 now)! Such wonderful mom memories for me reading about this book today.

  4. Monica says:

    Thanks for the reminder to re-read a Carl book soon!

  5. Amy says:

    I love Carl. He’s now in beginning readers as well!

  6. G. Perry says:

    This sounds like such a kind little story and the art looks splendid.

    I’ve seen it, but I’ve not read it. Now I shall.

    Thank you Lady Anita.

  7. Jessica says:

    This was one of my absolute favorites as a child! Now I’m hankering for a re-read!

  8. Leah Labrecque says:

    My toddler loves Corduroy and is getting good at telling stories based on illustrations alone. I’m going to have to check this out from the library and see what he makes of it. Thanks for the recommendation!

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