July 05, 2018

Sterling, Best Fork Dog Ever

Written and illustrated by Aidan Cassie
Farrar Straus Giroux
978-0-374-30614-4
40 pp.
Ages 3-6
July 2018

If ever there was a picture book that promoted the idea that you can be anything you want to be but being yourself is probably best, it's Sterling, Best Fork Dog Ever

Sterling is a silver dachshund who lives in a box outside of the Butlery Cutlery Company which purports to be "Now Shipping to All the Best Homes." Home sounds like a nice promise to Sterling whose box was  "... like a house. But not much like a home. No home had wanted to keep Sterling, not for long." So Sterling slips into the factory and into a box of forks ready for shipping.
From Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie
Determined that "This time will be different, he thought. I'll be different", Sterling makes sure that he is the best fork he can be. He stays as straight and as quiet and as silver as the other forks so that he can stay with the Gilbert family who see that he is different but quiet, small and "the most adorable thing ever!" But when the young girl wants to take him for  a walk or get him to sleep on her bed, Sterling remains fork-like. Then, when he's worried the family might not need him to be a fork, he reinvents himself as a whisk, a rolling pin, and more. It's not until he realizes the little girl is unhappy, and he finally sees all her puppy posters on the wall, that Sterling recognizes that "she just wanted him to be himself."
From Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie
This picture book is darling! The angst of poor Sterling trying to be whatever is needed so that he could have a forever home is both heart-breaking and humourous.  He really thinks he can be a fork, a golf club and a paper towel holder. He's always been under the impression that being himself, a dog, just wasn't good enough. Shame on those who ever made him feel less for being himself.  And kudos to the little girl who saw him as "the huggable, snuggable, perfectly lovable dog" that he was.  To all the Sterlings and dogs and children and people who think they're not enough just being whom they are, you're wrong.  You are enough and you're perfect as you are.
From Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie
Aidan Cassie is a new name in the youngCanLit world for me. Though this is her first published picture book, she was trained as an illustrator and animator and has been creating stories for many years, including the hand-drawn short film Sitting Next to Bernie (which also has an adorable puppy). If Sterling, Best Fork Dog Ever is any indication of the storytelling and artwork that Aidan Cassie can conceive, then I anticipate much positivity and more teachable moments in her future books.

7 comments:

  1. Such cute illustrations. :)

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  2. I've ordered my copy and can hardly wait for it to arrive.

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    1. I think you'll be delighted with the story. I was mistaken when I thought it would be a silly (in a good way) story. It is cute but meaningful.

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  3. I love the idea of this book! Having a rescue dog myself, who is always worried she isn't being good enough, I can see how popular this book will be.

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    1. And I’ll bet you love her just the way she is, Darlene.

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