Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Favorite Books for Toddlers Week - Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Text and pictures copyright ©1999 by Jules Feiffer

George is a puppy with a problem. When his mother commands, "Bark George," he does not emit a  ruff ruff, bow wow,  yip yip or even an arf arf. Instead he meows. His mother explains that cats meow but dogs bark. She then repeats her command, “Bark George.”  This time, George still does not bark, but he  does not meow either; to her dismay, he quacks,  then oinks and then moos.  
George's vexed mother takes him to the veterinarian. The Vet goes through the same routine as the mother. He commands George to bark -  George meows. The Vet puts on latex gloves, reaches deep down George’s throat and pulls out . . . a cat. He then repeats his command to George to bark -  George quacks. The Vet puts on even longer latex gloves and reaches deeper down George’s throat and pulls out . . .  a duck.  Using ever longer gloves and reaching ever deeper,  he hauls out a  pig, and finally to the astonishment of everyone - a huge cow.  The Vet commands George to bark. George is cured – he barks! Both the Vet and George’s mom are elated. 
On the walk home, the proud canine mom wants to show off her puppy to the people on the street. When she commands, “Bark George,” you will be shocked at the sound that comes out of George's mouth.  Your little ones will gasp, “Oh no,” and then begin giggling uncontrollably.

As with all three books that I am featuring this week, I first began reading Bark George when my oldest was a toddler and my second was a newborn.  I will always have fond memories of acting this book out almost every day when the boys were big enough.  They would pretend to be the parent, and I would be George. They would command, "Bark George,"  -  I would meow.  They would pretend to pull a cat out of my throat, and so on, until the end when they heaved and pulled and finally collapsed on the floor tugging a cow out of my mouth.  Even a child too young to know their animal sounds will enjoy Bark George because of the illustrations. Be prepared to read this book at least twice a day for the first three months and then once a day for the next year! Trust me, I now read it to my daughter who loves it too and my boys still enjoy hearing it.  Jules Feiffer's books really have staying power!

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