Dominic

by William Steig (1972)

William Steig was an acclaimed cartoonist and children’s author. His work includes the Caldecott winner, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and even the original Shrek. Famous for his winsome line drawings and his vocabulary rich prose, he wrote two famous full-fledged novels for children – Newbery Honor book,Abel’s Island and the National Book Award finalist, Dominic, and .

Dominic is an ideal book for families making the transition from picture books to chapter books. Each chapter contains plenty of action – and two to three classic William Steig illustrations, too. The action is quick and plentiful and yet Dominic is not a comic book. His adventures are wholesome and inspiring, and even include occasional moments of quiet reflection or piccolo playing.

Dominic is fun.  He starts off on a journey of restless, curious exploration – a ramble – but he’s also a terrific guy, helping anyone in need along the way.  He encounters a curious witch alligator (?!) – and in the process of helping a lonely pig, a mother goose, a mouse who paints, and a pygmy elephant he also comes to battle – more than once – with the nefarious Doomsday Gang.

Steig is famous in his picture books for children for employing aggressive, playful, imaginative vocabulary.  The same is true in Dominic, and it enriches the prose.  How does he do it?  Dominic contains words worthy of the SAT and yet can easily be followed and understood and treasured by a first grader.  That’s one part of the magic of reading aloud, improving your child’s vocabulary without her even knowing it.

Great prose, great drawings, playful adventure, great vocabulary, a worthy hero – and a piccolo! It all adds up to a William Steig special that will leave a lasting and memorable mark on your young intrepid readers.  And its plentiful and charming drawings and continuous action make it an ideal title to inspire and enable any families that are just learning to read aloud together.

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