Monday, February 4, 2013

Dominic by William Steig

Even though I am only half way through this book I just need to tell you about Dominic.  On my recent trip to America I met a lady who runs a very special project in her school where every class listens to the same novel over a three week period.  In the past they have read Mr Poppers Penguins and The world according to Humphrey.  In 2013 the featured book will be Dominic.

Dominic is a old book - published in 1972.  William Steig is especially famous for Shrek.  It might surprise you that Shrek was originally a picture book but be warned is very different from the movie.

Dominic is a dog looking for adventure.  Along the way he encounters kindness and disasters.  He also meets a cruel gang of outlaws who have been terrorizing the countryside.

The scene I want to share (remember I am still reading this book) comes in chapter five.  Dominic stumbles on the home of an old pig called Bartholomew Badger.  Bartholomew has lived for almost one hundred years and he is ready to die.  Dominic steps into his house and makes his last few days comfortable and special.  "For the next several days Dominic was Mr Badger's nurse, housekeeper and friend.  He fed him well.  He kept his house clean and neat; he talked to him and listened to him talk.  He kept him warm when he felt cold and fanned him when he was too warm.  Most helpful of all was the music he played on his piccolo.  It bought peace to the pig's spirit."

As a parting gift the old pig leaves all his treasure to Dominic.  This is such a touching scene.  It reminded me of the Australian classic picture book Old Pig by Margaret Wild illustrated by Ron Brooks.  Bartholomew dies and Dominic goes for a walk so he can do some thinking.  He buries the old pig in a hole.  "he felt his heart quake.  He had to cry.  Life was suddenly too sad.  And yet it was beautiful. The beauty only dimmed when the sadness welled up . And the beauty would be there again when the sadness went."

I will update you further on this book when I finish reading.  One more thing this book has a wealth of fabulous vocabulary.

No comments: