If You Could Ask Your Dog One Question is a sweet, uncomplicated ode to the love between a dog and their human.
Told in rhyming meter, this picture book begins simply: “If you could ask your dog one question/ do you know what it would be?/ I often wonder what I would ask/ if my dog could answer me.” The first question follows on the next page: “Does she understand my words when I speak to her each day?”
Subsequent pages chronicle a series of questions the narrator, a young girl, thinks about asking her dog—and in so doing, captures the essence of why dogs mean so much to so many people. From the simple (“’Do you prefer short walks?’ I ask./ ‘Or long car rides by the sea?’”) to the profound (“‘Do you have a sense of time?’”), author Kim Messina leads readers to a final, moving question that many dog owners ponder: “’Do you love me, as much as I love you?’”
The book’s narrator never gets answers, of course, but attractive and expressive illustrations capably depict the dog’s emotions and the loving, playful connection shared by canine and human.
There are a couple of minor flaws: The questions oscillate between second and third person, which can be distracting, and the story is light on plot. Still, it all builds to a satisfying ending, and the narrative provides an opportunity for children to discuss other questions they might be curious about asking their dogs, as well as the chance to imagine the answers. This increases re-readability, as does the high production value of the hardcover printing.
A book that inspires empathy, If You Could Ask Your Dog One Question is an excellent choice for children who have a beloved dog.