"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, November 1, 2013

Review: Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

Dog Songs Poems by Mary Oliver is a lovely collection of 35 poems and one essay all about dogs. I can't even tell you how exquisite this collection is. I'm afraid you will just have to read it for yourself and find out.

First I thought I'd just read one or two poems while I worked away at my job as a librarian. Soon I was sitting and reading the whole thing with big, fat tears rolling down my cheeks (yes, right in front of the students and everybody) because I, like Mary Oliver, understand what it means to be loved by a dog. And many most all of the poems are spot-on and speak to that special place we reserve within us that has to do with the love we feel toward our pets.

Here is a little sample from the first poem in the collection:

A puppy is a puppy is a puppy.
He's probably in a basket with a bunch
     of other puppies.
Then he's a little older and he's nothing
     but a bundle of longing.
He doesn't even understand it.

Then someone picks him up and says,
     "I want this one."
In addition to the poems, the illustrations of dogs on the cover and in between the poems are just perfect. The illustrator is John Burgoyne. It was very difficult to figure this out since his name is only little on the back flap in teeny-tiny font as the illustrator of the book jacket. Shame on you Penguin Press for not giving this illustrator more credit on the title page! Here is an example from the book of his lovely pen and ink illustrations:

Dog Songs Poems by Mary Oliver, illustration by John Burgoyne (Penguin Press, 2013)
I know what I will give as my Christmas gift this year to all my dog-loving family members...Dog Songs, Poems by Mary Oliver.

 Disclaimer: I read the copy of the book I purchased for my library.



  1. Dog Songs was a wonderful collection. I don't know much about Mary Oliver's personal life, but based on this book I'd like to think she had dogs. She seemed to know them so well.

  2. I enjoyed the poems too and the illustrations. I wish the publisher had given proper acknowledgement to the illustrator. Thank you for figuring out it is Hohn Burgoyne!


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