I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Dreaming of Mocha by An Swerts, Illustrated by Eline Van Lindenhuizen
Release date: Nov 15th, 2016
Publisher: Clavis Books
Genre: Picture Book
Florence wants a dog. It doesn’t matter what kind of dog. Just any dog. To take care of, and to pet. To run with, and to play with. If she gets a dog, she will NEVER whine again and she’ll always be good. That’s what she promised Mom.
One day there’s a little dog in Florence’s garden. He came out of nowhere.
“Mocha” it says on his collar. Mocha and Florence become the best of friends.
But then Mocha’s owner is suddenly at the door. And he is a very nice man.
What will Florence do now?
*Spoiler Alert! The end of the book is discussed!
I am so excited to post my first review here on Rattle the Stars, and even more excited that it is for a wordless picture book–a genre that is not all that common within school libraries. The thing I love the most about wordless picture books is how easily they lend themselves to be great discussion starters. How is the character really feeling? Why do you think that? What do you think the author is trying to tell you here with this picture? The absence of words allows the child to really create their own version of the story and is an excellent way to get children really talking.
As an avid animal lover, the storyline of Dreaming of Mocha immediately spoke to me. For years as a child, I dreamt of one day owning my very own dog. Florence’s desire reminded me of my younger self, as I thought back to childhood conversations with my parents where I begged them to allow me to adopt my own furry friend. We would spend days bargaining over who would be responsible for walks, poop and cuddles, and in the end, I finally won them over and have been a slave to dogs ever since! The idea of longing for a pet is a very relatable feeling for most children and in Dreaming of Mocha, the illustrations let us see the absolute love and adoration Florence feels towards the dog.
The author and illustrator walk us through how Florence finds a pup in the park and sneaks it into her own house, only to once again find it’s owner. Some of my favorite pages were the illustrations in which Florence was trying to hide the dog from her family. Eline Van Lindenhuizen did a wonderful job of allowing the reader to learn a lot about Florence’s sneaky and curious personality.
I do have to say that I was disappointed in how the story ended. I would have liked to see Florence find another dog that desperately needed a home, instead of Mocha being handed over so easily. I found myself asking if the original owner really cared about his dog. I know that I, for one, could never let my dogs go so easily, no matter how badly another child may want them. Maybe its the teacher in me, but I would have liked to see a larger lesson play out in the last few pages of the book.
Overall, I think there are some good points of discussion here, and I look forward to sharing this book with my students on Monday!
Possible Teacher Discussion Prompts:
-Why do you think that Florence wants a dog so badly?
-Why do you think Mocha chose to go with Florence?
-Do you think that it was right for Mocha’s owner to give Florence his dog?
-If you were Mocha, would you want to go with Florence? Why or why not?
-What do you think life will be like for Mocha now?