Babette Cole Meet Doctor Dog, he’s the Gumboyle family’s favourite pet and their very own trusty physician. When Doctor Dog jets off to a medical conference in Brazil the Guimboyles decide they can’t survive without him and so he returns to rescue them from all sorts of ailments: itchy nits, tickly tonsils and worms to name but a few. . .
I have enjoyed a few of Babette Cole’s stories and when my youngest picked this up in the library I was quite happy to add it to our pile of books to borrow. However the girls decided that we had to read it in the library then and there, so we did and it attracted some comments from other library users too. This is a book that can’t fail to induce an opinion!
The story is about the Gumboyle family whose pet dog is also their doctor. This is of huge benefit to them as they are not the most hygienic or healthiest of families! Dr Dog has to treat them for such complaints as smokers cough, head lice and worms as well as tonsillitis, ear ache and tummy ache. He givens good advice and shows the family pictures (drawn in a childlike style) of what is happening in their insides as a result of their lack of cleanliness or their illnesses. It’s a great way to get a conversation going about health and hygiene. “Never scratch your bum and suck your thumb” has got us talking about lots of things, as well as raising giggles from the girls.
Dr Dog warns the family of that bad things will befall them if they don’t change their ways. I am sure none of them really thought that Grandad Gumboyle’s excessive wind would blow the roof off their house though. The illustration for this also causes much merriment as Grandad sails through the air on his toilet as the ruined roof lies beneath him. It may not be what happens to most people but it does make a point!
Unsurprisingly after all this Dr Dog has to have time off for stress – brilliant. Verdict:This is an irreverent and amusing look at health issues that can affect children and families. It has been well loved for the three weeks it has been in the house! Reviewed by Helen
Publisher: Red Fox
Publication Date: February 1996
Format: Picture book
Genre: Humour, Health
Age: Early readers
Challenge: British book