Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

Images and text by Carter.

Don’t you have that one big Thing that you can only see out of the corner of your eye? A fear that is equal parts thrilling and terrifying? Mine varies depending on the day — from the dentist, to meeting someone new, to the suspense of a good old ghost story. That’s the heart of this story, Black Dog, by Levi Pinfold. One by one, members of the Hope family wake up to a big black dog looming right outside. It’s as big as a tiger, an elephant, and even something called a Big Jeffy. (So says young Maurice Hope.)

But then there’s the fearless and feisty Small Hope, who marches right out to that big black dog. She’s teensier than his eyeball, but still calls him a guffin. Her family warns that she’ll be munched and crunched, but she’s not scared — that’s Small Hope.

The pictures are breathtaking, blurring the line between what’s fantastic and what’s true. And the details! Don’t miss those tiny nuggets of story only told in the pictures. While the Hopes gather by the fire with mugs of something hot, there’s an octopus having tea with a rat in a different corner of the room. Kids’ scribbled drawings of Daddy’s pajama-clad feet and that scary Big Jeffy are scattered in the kitchen, just out of the splash zone when dropped toast falls into the kitty’s milk bowl. But along with her yellow slicker and green wellies, Small Hope’s story is the one I will remember the next time I feel intimidated, unsure, or just plain small.

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold