I am a dog is a strange animal, but I mean that in the best way possible. Weighing in at 22 or so pages, it has the heft and appearance of a children’s book but clearly is not. Rather, it’s a lavishly illustrated meditation on friendship, life, death, and quite possibly reincarnation. The story centers on a lone dog who befriends a turtle and embarks upon a journey to find the turtle’s home. Along the way, they team up with an owl, encounter a trio of sinister blue people, and fight off a pack of angry dogs. All the while, the narrative follows the kind of dream logic that I imagine my own dog uses to make sense of the world around him, and hints of magic realism abound. Among my favorite lines: “I bark at the water but I’m not really angry.”
Yep, that’s my dog in a nutshell.
While the story in I am a dog is certainly both engaging and intriguing, the true star of this book is the artwork. Indeed, it might not be too far off the mark to imagine that the art existed first and that artist/author Douglass Truth wove his enchanting narrative around it. Whatever the case, the paintings that adorn the book are as colorful and imaginative as the story itself, and they bring the story to life brilliantly. Needless to say, Truth’s gallery is absolutely worth checking out, for Truth is a real renaissance man with an eye for color and a clear zest for life.