Homer Review

 

Homer-coverDogs are special creatures.  Personally, I think they’re four-legged sages (Read more about that here).  Given how many children love dogs and how many families consider dogs another family member, it shouldn’t come as a surprise then how many children’s books have a dog as the central character.  Some walk on their hind legs and are essentially human.  Some are very realistic and don’t have any dialogue.  And some fall in the middle of these two extremes- one in particular, Homer by Elisha Cooper is a favorite in our household.

What makes Homer so endearing isn’t what he does but what he doesn’t do.  Throughout the story, Homer politely declines doing anything but sitting on the porch and simply watching what’s in front of him instead.  He then comes in the house at the end, climbs up on his favorite chair and then lets you know the only thing that that really matters to him- “I have you.”

The book really does captures the essence of a dog.  All they ever care about is having you. They don’t have any desires beyond loving you unconditionally.  While it reminds us that while going out and “doing stuff” can certainly be fun, simply enjoying the day through observation can be just as valuable.  I think kids already get this and that’s why this book will speak to them.  While they often times get a reputation for non-stop action, when we slow ourselves down and really observe a child, we might see that they operate on a very similar observational level as Homer.  My own two-year-old often takes his trucks, rolls them back and forth right in front of his face on the floor, parks and re-parks them with care for a very long time.  I often wonder what’s going on in that little mind of his as he’s doing this.  Maybe the beautiful thing is that there isn’t much he’s contemplating beyond enjoying what’s right in front of him.

Homer is a sage all right- showing children what they know to be true about the world and reminding us parents what that is.  Ironic then that the most famous Homer of all wrote thrilling epic adventures all around the world for his characters and the only adventure Homer the dog cares about is the love that’s right in front of him.

Consider asking your child-sage about this dog-sage: “Why do you think Homer is so content to sit on the porch all day?  Do you think he feels like he’s missing out on the fun?  Why or Why not?  What is Homer observing in these pictures?”  This might be a good opportunity to help expand your child’s vocabulary and teach about the action, “to observe”.  As part of the process, you can ask about all the senses, too (i.e., What do you think Homer is seeing/smelling/ hearing/tasting/touching in this picture?”)  And, lastly, for fun, maybe say, “Pretend that you’re a dog like Homer, what would you like to observe all day?”  Maybe you can tell them what you would observe if you were Homer, too.

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