Select one of the keywords
Sammy's Shelf
May 2013:
Good gracious, a book about a poop machine! What next?

I am always amazed by what I find when I check out my person's book pile, but I was totally flummoxed by this little book.

The Dog Machine: A Story about Celebrating Our Differences (Egmont. ISBN: 9781405258418) by Giles Andreae looks innocent enough. I normally avoid books about dogs but the cover with an illustration of a Supersonic Scooper looked pretty intriguing. This is a rather thin paperback so I knew I could paw through it pretty quickly.

'The World of Dogs was run with great EFFICIENCY. There were MACHINES for every kind of task,' the narrative explained. 'And the most brilliant was the one that dealt with all the BUSINESS that a dog might leave behind.'

Say what? What is this 'might leave behind' stuff? Everyone knows dogs leave little surprises that find their way on to an unsuspecting person's shoes whenever they go outside. Might? There's no might about it! You can bank on finding doggie residue if the animal's owner isn't fastidious enough to clean up after his or her pet.

The text continued to say that one simple machine could not deal with the variety and quantity of excrement that dogs leave behind them. So what was the solution? The King of Dogs decreed that 'the business of each dog henceforth must fit PRECISELY into this excellent machine'. And there was an accompanying illustration of the new, special, supersonic, doggie pooper scooper.

Of course the dogs were not up to the task of conforming to this new technology. 'This is not right, O King. We dogs should not be SHAPED by your machine,' exclaimed one brave little pooch. 'We come in DIFFERENT sizes, different forms. That is the WONDER of us dogs. That is what DOGNESS is.'

Oh, please! Do you really want to equate dogness with a dog's defecation? Ugh!

Well, to finish up this bizarre story, the other dogs all rallied around this little, outspoken pup and they overthrew the dictatorial king and made pup their new king.

What's the moral here? I'd say that perhaps it is one size doesn't fit all or maybe conformity and poop make for strange bedfellows. The author's idea was that, 'Every dog IS different, And that is WHY their world is such a HAPPY place to be'.

Really? Now there's an original thought! Oh well, there's no accounting for how humans reason. Personally, I don't think I would use potty humor to celebrate individual differences in a picture book for three to five year olds.

Thank goodness the author didn't use cats to get his message across. No, wait, that wouldn't work! We are far more discreet and don't leave our stuff willy-nilly all over the place the way our K-9 friends do.
Sammy shares living quarters with Bob Walch. Not only does Bob provide the basic essentials for this loquacious feline but he occasionally offers editorial assistance. Find more of the Maine Coon's musings at
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.