PUBLISHED: 5:03 PM on Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Imagination of a child resounds in book "My Father the Dog"
Let's twist a quacky old saw. If it walks like a dog and barks like a dog, it must be a dog, right? Not if you're reading "My Father the Dog" by Elizabeth Bluemle (Candlewick Press, $15.99; ages 3 to 5).

An unnamed girl whose younger brother is literally always in the picture, except for a few pages (father on a road trip and father stumbling down steps) relates the story from her point of view.

Here's what she has to say:

My father pretends to be human, but I know he's really a dog.

Consider the evidence:

When he wakes up, he's fuzzy around the edges.

He starts off the day with a good scratch.

He fetches the newspaper every morning... If you throw a ball, he'll chase after it. My father loves snacks.

Her straightforward explanation emphasizes Dad's steadfast love and loyalty.

The genuine sentiment behind her words makes the comparison sweet and funny, showcasing Bluemle's deft writing.

The Pop-pooch premise certainly has the potential to be too simple and insulting, but it's not.

Spending a few pages with these characters leaves readers feeling the warmth a close-knit family emanates.