Dogs in Disguise by Peter Bently and illustrated by John Bond

My enormous thanks to Tina Mories at Harper Collins for sending me a surprise copy of the children’s book Dogs in Disguise by Peter Bently and John Bond in return for an honest review.

I’ve previously reviewed another of John Bond’s children’s books – Mini Rabbit Come Home –  here on Linda’s Book Bag.

Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books on 16th September 2021 Dogs in Disguise is available for purchase through the links here where you’ll also find an audio sample.

Dogs in Disguise

An exciting new collaboration between the Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning author Peter Bently and the incredibly talented illustrator John Bond!

Dogs come in all kinds of colours and sizes
But when no one’s looking they put on DISGUISES.

A joyful peek into the crazy antics of all sorts of dogs in disguise! Dressing up in clothing they find at home, these adventurous pooches blend into the crowd at all the places dogs aren’t allowed, like the store, the cinema and the swimming pool! But, not all of their disguises go quite to plan, with hilarious results . . .

From schnauzers in trousers to cosmonaut cockapoos, this jaunty rhyming text from hugely popular, award-winning author, Peter Bently, with brilliantly witty illustrations from John Bond, creator of the Mini Rabbit books, will have children howling with laughter!

My Review of Dogs in Disguise

You might think you know dogs, but they could be in disguise right under your nose.

Now, I’m at least 55 years older than the intended audience for Dogs in Disguise and a cat lover but I adored this book. Firstly, it has a thick, robust cover that will withstand many readings – both in the home and in other early years settings – that makes it feel high quality. The end papers are vibrant and colourful and there’s a richness to the colours used throughout that would make group use very easy because the images are strong and captivating. Indeed, the illustrations are an absolute delight to readers of any age. They bring a real smile to the face and I can imagine young children laughing with joy at some of the dogs’ antics, especially when Barney disguises himself as a tree!

The language is accessible and funny with lots of jokes that will appeal to small children (and adults!) so that Dogs in Disguise is engaging and entertaining. I do have my usual small criticism in children’s books that I prefer not to have words entirely in upper case letters in the middle of sentences, as I prefer to model expected use more conventionally. However, the language is fantastic for language learning. There’s a natural rhythm to the writing that makes the book easy to read aloud with a smashing rhyme scheme that increases vocabulary and means the book can also be used as a game as non-reading children guess the word to rhyme with the previous one. Some have full rhyme like ‘big’ and ‘wig’, but on other occasions the rhymes are homophones for example, so that Dogs in Disguise could be a brilliant tool for teaching developing writing.

In fact, there are many ways Dogs in Disguise can enhance home and classroom settings. Young children might take on role play for some of the situations included in Dogs in Disguise so that they develop interactive skills and imagination. The different activities the dogs get up to could easily lead to classroom discussions about hobbies; the various breeds of dogs might lead to children speaking about their own pets and thereby developing oracy skills or research skills as they find out more about each breed and so on. Numeracy might come through counting the different dogs or bones in the end papers perhaps.

But if all that sounds quite worthy, the real success of Dogs in Disguise is that it is an absolute joy. It might offer all manner of educational uses, but most of all this children’s book is witty and vibrant, arrestingly and charmingly illustrated, and enormous fun to read. I loved it!

About Peter Bently

Peter studied languages at Oxford University, England, and lives in Devon with his wife Lucy and their two children. After a career as a non-fiction editor, he turned to writing for children soon after the birth of his son Theo. Egmont published his very first children’s book, the bestselling A Lark in the Ark, which was shortlisted for the Red House award and the inaugural BookTrust Book of the Year awards.

Peter also wrote King Jack and the Dragon, which was shortlisted for the Kate Greenway Medal and selected as one of the American Library Association’s Notable Books of the year. Among his other titles, the hilarious The Great Dog Bottom Swap was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, which he won in 2011 with Cats Ahoy!

You’ll find more information on Peter’s website and you can follow him on Twitter @PeterBently and Instagram.

About John Bond

John Bond is an illustrator, author and artist. He grew up on a farm in the Cotswolds and went on to study a degree in Illustration at Kingston University, London. He now lives and works in Worthing on the south coast. His studio is based at Colonnade House.

With a background in animation and digital media, he spent 7 years working at an award winning creative agency – designing and directing a multitude of projects for broadcast, digital, and interactive content.

He now works independently as an illustrator and artist, balancing commercial jobs with self initiated projects alongside running his own online store. Bond’s work has been exhibited in galleries worldwide and he has spoken at industry events such as PictoplasmaGlug and Pecha Kucha.

For more information, visit John’s website, follow him on Twitter @iamjohnbond and Instagram or find him on Facebook.

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