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Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2014
'It Shouldn't Happen (to a Dog)' by Don Freeman is an interesting book from another age. The art is okay. The story behind the art makes it worth looking at.
If you have something you want to say, but are not able to, how do you go about saying it? For Don Freeman, a cartoonist in the military, he saw inequality based on skin color, but couldn't say anything openly about it. Instead, he tells the story of a soldier who joins the military and gets turned into a dog. We follow the dog as he goes through training and daily army life. We see him go on leave and tries to ride in the front of a city bus. It's not comical, but it is sharp social commentary for a time when this might have been the only way to talk about these things.
I found it to be of historical interest. The introduction is very good, and you get to learn about the artist, Don Freeman. I knew of Don from the children's book Corduroy, but I was unfamiliar with this side of his work. I'm glad I got to read this.
I received a review copy of this ebook from Dover Publications and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
This is a reprint of an adult book first published in 1945. I love Don Freeman as a children's writer/artist and just had to give this a read. It is a political satire/treatise on the racism and segregation he found rampant when he served in the army during WWII. Freeman is a black man and by turning his character into a dog he was able to tell a story he otherwise would not have been able to tell during at this time in American history. Even so, the book was highly controversial and received criticism. There is a very interesting introduction which explains all this and what the themes and symbols of the story are. It is good for its historical value but otherwise, without having read the introduction, I wouldn't have clued into the deeper meaning.