The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have by Edward Van de Vendel has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Nino’s dog is imaginary. It goes everywhere with Nino, from his great-grandma’s house to the lake. When Nino misses his father who works overseas, the dog comforts him. The dog even gets Nino into trouble sometimes; one illustration depicts the two of them digging while Nino’s mother is not looking.
After Nino is given a real dog, the real dog cannot do everything his imagined one could do. For example, Nino’s real dog doesn’t climb trees like a squirrel, and his real dog doesn’t know who Nino’s dad is. Nonetheless, everyone can see Nino’s real dog, and the real dog has more tangible qualities than the imaginary one, such as being physically present, soft to the touch and sweet-natured. Nino enjoys his new dog and continues to imagine having other types of make-believe pets.
Other Belief Systems
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Imagination: Nino continues to imagine dogs and other animals even after he is given a real dog. Parents may want to discuss that it is healthy for kids to use their imagination, but not when they ignore what is real.
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Readability Age Range
4 to 8
Edward Van de Vendel
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
The Original Art Silver Medal, 2015; Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 2015; Publishers Weekly Best Picture Book, 2015