Viv Schwarz - Making 'Is there a Dog in this Book?'

Published on: 24 August 2017 Author: Viv Schwarz

I will tell you some things about making "Is there a Dog in this Book?" I made two books about cats, and people asked me to write a book with a dog in it for a change. I don't know much about dogs, so I made a book about cats meeting a dog.

When I was a child, my father bought a dog, and I was quite unsure about it. That's what this book is about really. The cats are feeling how I felt - not very happy about a dog appearing!

To make a book, I usually weave together a lot of my memories. In this story, I remembered feeling unhappy about the dog – but then I made friends with it. I try to get these true emotions into the book so that the reader can understand the feelings of the characters. You can see how scared the cats are at the beginning and how they slowly come to love the dog.

Is there a Dog in this book?

Writing and drawing about things you know are great ways to create stories. The house in this book is a bit like the house I grew up in. It has my mother's piano and my father's antiques which he collected. I also used memories of my childhood with the physical look of the book. I used gold foil for the piano in the book which was actually a chocolate wrapper that I got when I visited my parents.

I used to collect pop-up books when I was a child, so that also inspired me. I was also constantly looking through the many cupboards, drawers, and boxes in my house when I was young, and I wanted to bring that joy of discovering new things into this book. When you're looking for the dog and cats behind all the flaps, you never know what you'll discover.

Is there a Dog in this book?

I hope that this book encourages you to make your own. That really is its main purpose. I used some simple drawings, painted shapes, paper engineering, collage, cartoon speech bubbles... and suddenly you have a whole picture book in your hands. You could try making a picture book with flaps yourself, with the cats tumbling out of a piano, a suitcase or a wardrobe! It's not magic – you just use whatever comes into your head. Everything you can imagine can be woven into books, if you like.

That's what I did.


Topics: Bookbuzz, Features


Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 16 titles.

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