Sunday 17 August 2014
PLUMDOG by Emma Chichester Clark Reviewed by Adèle Geras
I first met Plumdog through the internet. She is a dog belonging to the artist, Emma Chichester Clark who started a diary/blog which she posted on Twitter. Lots of people fall in love virtually these days and I fell in love with Plum.
She lives with Emma and her partner conveniently near the river in London. A good thing for her, because one of the things she likes doing most is jumping in water. She loves rivers, streams, the sea, puddles...any water will do.
She has lots of friends, both canine and human and she lives a life which seems to me to be completely blissful. It's full of croissants, walks, trips to the seaside and lots and lots of relatives who all adore Plum.
You'd think from this description that Plum would be spoiled, but no! She's delightful in every way: amusing, charming, slightly waspish when called upon to be so and flirtatious at times too. There are moments of sadness (like the terrible time Plum spent a Channel Crossing in a car situated in the dark hold of the ferry.) She is also very not keen on being left. She knows about Packing and what it might mean...
Samuel Johnson had Boswell and Plum is just as lucky to have the wonderful Emma Chichester Clark as her scribe and illustrator. We all know Chichester Clark's work in the Blue Kangaroo books and very many others. She's one of the most sought-after and acclaimed illustrators in the world of children's books and her style, which is at the same time both impressionistic and detailed, is perfect for bringing to life Plum's voice. The pages are edged with what looks like a doggy fabric pattern and there's huge variety in the layout. Some pictures spread over the whole page, some are laid out in a cartoon style. Some are the perfect background for Plum's philosophical musings, such as this one. If you can't read the text, I'll add it here. Plum says: "The tide comes in. The tide goes out. The tide comes in. The tide goes out. This is my place. Forever."
If you have any friends who are dog mad, then this is the book for them. I am a devoted cat lover but have recently acquired a grand- dog who is as charming in his way as Plum. I wish I had the talent and the skill to write a diary for him half as interesting and exciting as this one is. It's not every dog, though, who has her own book, and as I realized when I first met her, Plum is a total star!
PLUMDOG is published by Jonathan Cape most beautifully in hardback. The book costs £16.99 and is worth every penny. If ever there was an example of a book that needs to be on paper, this is it.
Turning the book over to check on the ISBN (9780224098403) I see it's described as a GRAPHIC NOVEL. That's right, I think and I can't wait for more from the musings and reflections of Plumdog.
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