My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is such a lovely book. Set in the National Gallery, London, the dogs of the paintings come out once a year on Dogs’ Night. This year there’s a party in the gallery and all of the dogs are waiting until the party guests leave and they can throw a party of their own.
Once the guests do leave, it’s time for the dogs to have their party. And it’s a riotous affair! We see dogs of all shapes, colours and sizes racing around the gallery. There’s a vivid sense of pace and place to these pages primarily because of the rampant iconicism of the National Gallery. It is such a gorgeous setting and Curless and Burgess play joyously in it.
But then, at the end of Dogs’ Night, things go a little awry and some of the dogs end up in the wrong paintings! This obviously draws a little attention and the dogs have to deal with being in the wrong paintings until next Dogs’ Night when they can come out, party, and make sure they go home to the right painting.
What I also liked about this is the palpable sense of joy and how it utilises real artworks in the book. There’s a nice little introduction to the actual paintings used at the back of the book and I adored the suggestion that every art gallery has its dogs’ night. When I was growing up, I used to love hunting for hidden doors in French chateaux when we were on holiday. Looking for the dogs is a similar sort of thing – and it’s a very clever way to introduce children to classic artwork.
Have a look at Google Art Project to explore the collection and ‘hunt the dogs’ online!