Back in college (over five years ago now), I spent one class reading, re-reading, and generally analyzing short sections of Scripture. The goal was to come up with as many observations as possible. If you spend enough time on a project like that, you can come up with quite a lot.
And, as it happens,you can make quite a few observations on children’s books too, after multiple re-readings—especially when you start with the basics, such as:
1. This is a book about puppies.2. There are five puppies in this story (not counting the mother).
3. These are very unusual puppies, because they get chocolate custard for dessert.
Then there are the more subtle observations, and the various inferences you can draw from them:
4. Four of the puppies, on three different occasions, have to look for the fifth, the pokey puppy.
5. Even after finding the pokey puppy in the green-grassy space twice before, the other puppies don’t think to look there first when he disappears again.
6. If the puppies see a strawberry while on a walk, they get strawberry shortcake for dessert.
7. The puppies see six other ‘creatures’ on their walk, besides the desserts.
8. Five of these creatures, including a toad, a grasshopper, and grass-snake, are pictured in the book.
9. Only one creature, the “big black spider,” is not shown, suggesting that it must have been a truly terrifying spider, unfit for the pages of a children’s book.
10. If you listen carefully, you can identify chocolate custard by the sound a spoon makes as it is scraped over the side of a bowl.
11. The pokey puppy is a dog (presumably), and yet he manages to eat five servings of chocolate custard with no side effects.
12. And, even after eating 10 servings of dessert over the previous two days, the pokey puppy is still able to squeeze through a wide place in the fence that the other puppies have heretofore overlooked in their escapades.
If you really want to know what to take away from this story, though, just remember that the pokey puppy is the arch-villain here.
I mean—he lures the other puppies out under the fence and abandons them while he waits to discover what dessert will be. Then he ‘lets’ the other puppies arrive home before him. Once they are safely dispatched to their beds, he sneaks home to devour the dessert himself.
But—in his final attempt—the other puppies accidentally foil him, saving the dessert! (For themselves, of course.)
Oh, and I might be back next week with a more serious book review.