The Dog Who Loved Red
Kane Miller, 2011.
When Raja’s chewing habit puts him out of favor with her parents, Tanvi decides to take her frisky, red-loving dog to the park. There the pair meets Raja’s Dalmatian buddy, Champ, but the canines’ favorite (red) ball is nowhere to be found.
This second book by talented young illustrator and animator Anitha Balachandran (Mr. Jeejeebhoy and the Birds) tells of Raja the dog’s colorful adventure to rescue his favorite ball from the back yard of mean Mr. Mehta, the neighbor with yellow shorts, a violet gate, a silver car, brown flowerpots, a white sheet hanging on the line, and a blue garden hose he turns on dogs to chase them out of his yard.
Balachandran’s bright illustrations live up to her previous work in this book about color in which each color-word is printed in ink of that color and made to stand out so that children soon recognize not only the colors but the words for those colors as well. Though it is a simple story that could take place anywhere, Raja and Tanvi’s world is distinctly Indian: Raja’s first chewing casualty is Mrs. Lal’s red sari shawl, for instance.
The Dog Who Loved Red is an inviting book for young children who will relate to the plight of naughty, messy, playful dogs and the kids who love them. The characters and setting reflect diversity, though diversity itself is not a theme of the book, making it a fun story for learning about color and a wonderful addition to library shelves.