- Age Range: 8 and up
- Grade Level: 3 - 4
- Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
- Series: Sunburst Book
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); Reprint edition (August 1, 1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374418268
- ISBN-13: 978-0374418267
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,147,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dominic (Sunburst Book) Paperback – August 1, 1984
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Dominic is a one-of-a-kind dog. One day this exuberant, restless, freedom-loving fellow decides there isn't enough going on in his neighborhood to satisfy his need for adventure. And off he goes, with an assortment of hats (rakish, dashing, solemn, and martial), his precious piccolo, and a few other things, leaving a note on his door:
Dear Friends, I am leaving rather in a hurry to see more of the world, so I have no time to say goodbye to you individually. I embrace you all and sniff you with love. I don't know when I'll be back. But back I will be. Dominic.On the road, this curious canine is lighthearted, open to every option, all senses aquiver. It's not long before he encounters a prophetic witch-alligator, (who had "many more teeth than necessary for any ordinary dental purpose"); a catfish who gives him a long, sharp spear that will make him invincible in serious combat; and even the infamous Doomsday Gang, "who robbed, ravaged, cheated, attacked innocent creatures at large and travelers especially, and did all sorts of damaging mischief." Dominic remains undaunted throughout, for "challenges were his delight. Whatever life offered was, this way or that, a test of one's skills, one's faculties; and he enjoyed proving equal to these tests."
As he continues his journey, we find Dominic to be considerate, compassionate, generous, and philosophical. As he ponders the nature of death, the nature of wealth, the role of art in our lives, the nature of good and evil, and the yearning for true love, readers are left with a feeling that life is basically good, and even splendid:
"What a wonderful world!" thought Dominic. "How perfect!" Had it been up to him when things were first made, he wouldn't have made them a whit different. Every leaf was in its proper place. Pebbles, stones, flowers, all were just as they ought to be. Water ran where it should run. They sky was properly blue. All sounds were in tune. Everything had its appropriate smell.Kids will adore the magical, comical, action-packed adventures of this remarkable dog, and readers of any age will come away from William Steig's Dominic somehow changed. An ALA Notable Book. (Ages 8 and older, and a wonderful read-aloud for younger children) --Karin Snelson
"A likely candidate for classic status."--Selma G. Lanes, Harper's
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Will Dominic really need the spear? You bet! It is not much later that he meets three members of the dreaded Doomsday Gang! Will he win the battle?
Dominic is the sort of dog you would like to meet in human form. He is very considerate of others and even saves a yellow jacket from a spider's web. When he comes to the home of Bartholomew Badger, who is 100 years old, he stays and cares for him until his death. After burying him, he then searches for the treasure that Bartholomew has left him. A great lesson here as Dominic soon realizes how much of a burden wealth can be. How does he handle it?
SO many great characters in this book. Kids will smile at Matilda Fox and her five goslings! Yes, that's not a typo. The goose has the surname of Fox! So many more that you will meet as you journey with Dominic.
With pictures spread sporadically throughout this book that add to the storytelling this is a chapter book that is FANTASTIC as a read aloud over several days or great for older, independent readers. The writing is not at all dumbed down so don't be surprised if you get asked what a word means. You may even have to look some up yourself!
For parents who are concerned about the influence of alcohol, alcohol is consumed but not on a regular basis and where it occurs flows naturally with the story and setting.
I never remembered the title, though, and the book had long since disappeared from my parent's house. One day I did an extensive Google search with only the words "dog," "piccolo" and "traveler" and managed to stumble across William Steig's website.
I just bought myself a new copy of "the first book I ever read" and can't wait to read it again. It really is a book that has stayed with me my entire life. I just found it astonishing that so many other people wrote the exact same thing in their reviews. How can it be that one book has been the "first book" for so many people? I don't know, but I do know that if you can let it be your kid's first book, they will cherish it forever. I sure did.
This book, I believe, also has a lot in common with titles like Roahl Dahl's _Matilda_ or Antoine De Saint-Exupery _The Little Prince_ in that while they're MARKETED for kids, they really have no ideal age for their reader. There is a beauty and complexity in this novel that appeals to all - I really can't urge you enough to pick it up.