Island Dog

Rebecca Goodale 

Book artist Rebecca Goodale invites you on a scenic tour of the simple joys of life on an island as she follows an adventurous dog on a lovely summer day.

Unlike most illustrated books, which are typically driven by text, Island Dog is a mixed breed: a panoramic work of art in the shape of a book. Goodale paints her pages with vivid colors, shapes, and textures, and extends her canvas with gatefolds and diecuts that become an integral part of the story-telling and personality of the piece. Her friendly dog and lush scenery pull you forward into Goodale's idyllic island world, where you can invent your own stories about this special dog's life.

Anyone who's ever taken dogs to the beach will appreciate the memorable moments captured in pages dripping with color-from being sprayed by a water-logged dog trying to shake itself dry to watching a four-legged friend chase seagulls in the sand. The book also evokes the picturesque charm and mystique of island living in a way that may leave you wishing you were an island dog.

What People Are Saying

"A wordless picture book with vibrant illustrations and an excellent design. Diecuts and gatefolds create many scene possibilities as readers turn the pages. The simple pictures show a playful dog reveling on a beautiful summer day on a Maine island. Nothing much happens, but youngsters will find pleasure and satisfaction in absorbing the striking art and in verbalizing what is going on in the pictures."
--School Library Journal

"Flip through the pages of Rebecca Goodale's Island Dog and you'll be struck by the brilliance of its saturated colors and the charming simplicity of the imagery. A story without text of a dog's jaunts on an unnamed Maine Island on a summer day, the book depicts woman's best friend as she swims in the water, chases seagulls, then heads for her lighthouse home.
"There are rewards for careful readers, like such small but closely observed details as the way the dog holds her tail when she encounters one of her own. Goodale also worked to make the story realistic by including such specifics as the Spring Point Ledge Light. To accurately portray the constellations, she studied charts of Maine summer skies at night.
"The lack of a text leaves room for all kinds of interpretations. Aprile Gallant, curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Portland Museum of art, said 'It allows people to use their imaginations to create their own story.'
"For Goodale, a book artist, printmaker, textile designer and teacher at the University of Southern Maine, putting the book together presented a 'design challenge.' She realized that by inserting gatefolds periodically, she could affect the rate at which the book would be read. 'I was trying to choreograph the reader's movements,' she said, 'not only the hands, but the eyes as well.'
"There's even a suggestion of something deeper. Goodale previously produced a book-art series in which people can be seen reading books -- 'books about books,' she calls them. In those, she said, 'I'm hinting at something like infinity.'
"In this book, a boy sits reading something that appears to be Island Dog. It's just 'another infinity,' said Goodale."
--Pat Sims, Casco Bay Weekly

"In Island Dog, artist Rebecca Goodale offers a scenic tour of the simple joys of life on an island from the perspective of an adventurous dog. Drawing on a array of colors, shapes, and images, Goodale allows her tale to unfold naturally, without words, so that the reader can explore and savor the views in peaceful silence -- and perhaps be inspired to create their own stories about a special dog. Highly recommended."
--Midwest Book Review

"Island Dog puts a new spin on the illustrated book by letting the reader determine the story. It provokes the imagination, delights the senses, and is both inventive and endlessly entertaining."
--Aprile Gallant, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Portland Museum of Art, Maine

"Island Dog is a lovely book, the spirit of coastal Maine indeed, life the way it ought to be: beloved dog, caring man and the magic seascape, in leisurely pure harmony, portrayed by an inspired artist."
-- Janwillem van de Wetering, author of the Hugh Pine children's books and the popular Grijpstra and de Gier mysteries

"What a switch! The reader tells the story--with infinite creative possibilities. I love it!"
-- Cherie Mason, author of Wild Fox, A True Story and Everybody's Somebody's Lunch

About the Artist

goodaleArtist Rebecca Goodale creates unique and limited-edition books, many with sculptural elements and special details influenced by her rich background in printmaking and textile design.

Goodale's work is widely exhibited and is in several private and permanent collections, including the New York City Public Library, State of Hawaii, Georgia Council for the Arts, and The White House Ornament Collection. She teaches at the University of Southern Maine and lives in South Portland Maine--where the beach in her neighborhood often has more dogs than seagulls.

If you're interested in seeing more of Rebecca Goodale's work, she will be exhibiting at The Turtle Gallery, Deer Isle, ME, through September 2000. For details, contact Elena Kubler at 207.348.9977 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Peek Inside

Scenes from an island dog adventure...lighthouse buffs may recognize the Maine landmarks that inspired the artist. The Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland, Maine, and the famous Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth both appear in the story. Here, our carefree Island Dog meets a dark, handsome stranger on the beach.


Home again, the Island Dog greets a feline pal by the front door.


After a day of exploring new places, this Island Dog relaxes outside with family and friends.


At the end of a busy day...Island Dog is content to be a good companion and watch the rest of the family enjoying a twilight swim. Life doesn't get much better than this, for dog or man.


Copyright © 1999 by Rebecca Goodale.

Order Your Copy

Island Dog may be ordered through bookstores and is available at select gift and pet stores.

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