When I saw Van Dog I was thinking, okay either we will be dealing with a vehicle or not. And it was not about a van. The title by Mikolaj Pa is a play on Van Gogh as our dog is a painter. And Gosia Herba paints the scene for us that Van Dog is doing. Well, first they paint all the bizarre, weird, crazy, out of this world, mixed up, screwed up, impossible, outlandish, comical, ridiculous, off the wall, freakish things that happened. A giant lizard looks for Tokyo; aliens land on Earth; astronauts return from space; an ant talks about how they had a dream about going to space, a giant gorilla is looking for a giant lizard, several people give unsolicited advice; a young person bends over and farts, while another laughs at them; snails talk about how tasty a mushroom looks, then eats it; trees and plants are too tall, small, or talking too much. In the end, Van Dog finishes, and hangs his painting. We then see what the grand work of art is all about.
A picture book meets hide-seek-and-find activities. You might not get everything that is happening in the equally unusual text, but you can find a whole crud load of things. The cover is the tamest part of this entire book. The non-cover picture I picked does not show the completely coo-coo imagery, but my feelings about everything.
I could not even focus on the text because the illustrations were so distracting. I could feel myself getting more frustrated as I went along. I could feel myself thinking, “Is there a point to all of this? Is something going to happen? Is Van Dog going to tell everyone Fly off? (Only they won’t say fly?)”
Yet, I cannot say that this was a bad book. There is something fascinating about this book. I know it was very much not for me, but I also know that it will very much be for someone else. If that is you, then please enjoy with all my blessings!