If there is a dog in the book …

Probably, there is no child in the world who would not dream of a dog. This is especially characteristic of children who are lonely, unsure of themselves, those who differ from their peers and do not find a common language with them. A dog with its unconditional love and boundless loyalty is the ideal friend that many of us lack in childhood. More precisely, we always miss him, but over the years we somehow get used to do without ideal friendship. But for a child or teenager, it is vital, otherwise the world will forever remain alien, hostile and unfair. The dog, on the other hand, becomes a kind of guide, a link between his young master and the world around him.

Tosiya Nishida “Walking with Haru”

This is exactly what happens in the book “Walking with Haru” by the Japanese writer Tosiya Nishida, which was recently published by the Polyandriya publishing house. Her character Yota moves to the small city of Naru, too quiet, sleepy, boring compared to the bustling Tokyo. Once upon a time in this city his mother, who is no longer alive, grew up, and Yota subconsciously hopes to meet her on these deserted inhospitable streets, but the city does not want to open up to him. Walking with the lost French bulldog Haru helps the hero get to know a new place, find his favorite corners, and also make friends with the cutest girl in the class. Yota has liked Kawashima-san for a long time, but if not for Haru, he would never have dared to speak to her.

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Valery Voskoboinikov “Girl, boy, dog: a story”

The theme of “girl, boy and dog” runs through all adolescent literature, and this is not surprising. A dog not only serves a person as the most devoted friend, it allows him to establish social ties, which is not at all easy in our time, and all the more difficult for growing children with their distrust of the world and of themselves. Isn’t it strange that people with the gift of speech need the help of a dumb creature to understand each other? And how can we not remember the famous “only one heart” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery …

illustrations by Natalie Rukavishnikova

The book of the famous Soviet and Russian children’s writer Valery Voskoboinikov, first published in 1981 in the magazine “Koster”, is called “Girl, Boy, Dog”. The dog in her is a guide in the literal sense of the word, she accompanies a blind person, but by the will of fate and bad people is parted from him. The book consists of short stories, united by common characters and a plot, which is built around the Irish Setter Boole, aka Boy. Unlike most of these stories, her young heroes live in harmony with themselves, and they can even be called happy. Yes, they also have problems and troubles, and in general life is not sugar, especially for Anton: his mother is at work all day, there is not enough money in the family and it is impossible to have a dog in a communal apartment. But the book evokes a surprisingly warm and light feeling, primarily due to the trusting, open relationship between children and adults.

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illustrations by Natalie Rukavishnikova

The dog Bulyu is assigned a rather passive role here – he becomes, first of all, an object of care that unites the heroes. It is characteristic that in the finale Boulle returns to his blind master, since the children from Voskoboinikov’s story do not need an accompanying person, they already feel confident enough in this world and know how to build relationships with each other. But a happy atmosphere and a happy ending do not make the book boring or corny, it really captivates and makes the reader worry about the characters.

Anna Voltz “Alaska”

Alaska from the novel of the same name by Anna Woltz is also a guide dog, and both heroes desperately need it. For Parker, this is the only friend who helps to survive the terrible event of the past summer. But it so happened that Alaska was given to Sven, because only a dog is able to feel in advance and prevent an epileptic seizure in a boy. It is quite natural that Parker hates Sven, and he hates Alaska, which constantly reminds others and himself of his illness, and calls it a “stupid beast.” As you might guess, it is the dog that becomes the bridge connecting the souls of these distrustful and lonely children. And Alaska also allows each of them to accept and understand themselves, which is perhaps even more important.

illustrations by Natalie Rukavishnikova

In the life of the heroes of Anna Woltz, there are more than enough problems – both ordinary teenagers and quite adults. But if there is a dog in the book, then the ending is sure to be good, or at least reassuring. After all, this is why there are guide dogs in our lives, guide dogs – to lead their two-legged friends to hope and happiness.

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illustrations by Natalie Rukavishnikova

Nishida, T. Walking with Haru / Tosiya Nishida; translated from Japanese by Ekaterina Darovskaya. – St. Petersburg: Polyandriya, 2021 .– 223 p.

Voskoboinikov, V. Girl, boy, dog: a story / Valery Voskoboinikov; artist Anna Goshko. – Moscow: Labyrinth Press, 2021 .– 159 p. : col. silt – (Friends-buddies). 0+

Woltz, A. Alaska / Anna Woltz; translated from Dutch by Irina Lake; illustrations by Natalie Rukavishnikova. – St. Petersburg: Polyandriya, 2020 .– 200 p. : col. silt 12+

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