Written in 1999, “Bark, George” has remained a classic book that any young child can find joy in. It starts out simple, with George’s mom asking him to bark. Yet, to the mother and reader’s surprise, George the dog lets out a “Meow”. After several pages of George quacking, mooing, and doing anything but barking, his mother takes him to the vet. And one by one, the vet pulls farm animals out of George!
The book is repetitive, with just two major formats of how the dialogue goes. In this way, it works well for the younger age groups. They know what to expect in the wording, and there is a rhythm to how it sounds. Yet, it remains exciting by the different twists in the plot. The different sounds George makes and the fact that there are animals inside of him bring the element of “silly” to this tale. The animal noises also make it a great read aloud book, because parents and teachers can add their own energy in how they read it.
The illustrations are simple and have well-defined lines. Each page has a different solid color background, that the images pop out on. Sometimes the dog expands across both pages, making it especially engaging. One of the strongest illustrations is the page where the doctor pulls out a cow, because the silliness of the image works so well with the storyline.
Another interesting piece of this book is how it supports diversity, in a very subtle way. The book doesn’t have many human characters, and the focus is on the dogs. However, at the end when George is walking home, there are kids of all different backgrounds. This is very minor, so I would not necessarily say it promotes diversity. Rather, it is just not ignoring diversity.
This classic twist on the woman who swallowed a fly will be around for many more generations to come!