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At 53 years of age you might think that I’m too old for children’s books. However, when you’re dealing with children’s books either about Newfs or with Newfoundland dogs in them, then I revert to childlike fascination and wonder. It is so appropriate that the children’s dog be a subject of countless books for children. The all time classic in this regard is, of course, the story of Peter Pan. This timeless story by J.M. Barrie first appeared as part of a book published in 1902. Then in 1904 it was presented as a play and in 1911 it came out as a novel in its own right. Nana, who acted as nursemaid for the Darling children, may be the best known Newf of all time. While Nana is a fictional character, she aptly represents the many Newfoundland dogs who so willingly performed this service for Victorian era families. Here are some more recent books that you can look for in flea markets, yard sales or order through a book seller:

  • The Twins and Trusty — Jean McDeavitt, Row, Peterson, 1958
  • The Dog Crusoe — R.M. Ballantyne, Dutton, 1966
  • Sailor’s Choice — Natalie Savage Carlson, Harper & Row, 1966
  • Bad Dog — Ned Delaney, Wm. Morrow & Co., 1987
  • A Dog Called Lucky Tide — William Koehler, Scholastic, 1988
  • Patti Gets Even — Susan Saunders, (Sleepover Friends #17) Scholastic, 1989
  • Newf — Marie Killilea, Philomel Books, 1992
  • Hugger to the Rescue — Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Cobblehill/Dutton, 1994
  • The Lighthouse Dog — Betty Waterton, Orca Book, 1997
  • My Name is York — Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, Rising Moon (Northland Publishing), 1997
  • Emma and the Night Dogs — Susan Bivin Aller, Albert Whitman & Co., 1997
  • The Wreck of the Ethie — Hilary Hyland, Peachtree, 1999
  • Storm, Dog of Newfoundland — Anthony Fon Eisen, Outport Pub., 1948, 1994
  • Sailor: The Hangashore Newfoundland Dog — Catherine Simpson, Tuckamore Books, 1998
  • The Newfoundland Dog’s Birthday Surprise — Doreen Parmiter Canning, Jubilee Books, 1995

The last are published in Newfoundland. Sailor: The Hangashore Newfoundland Dog, was subsidized by the federal government, is beautifully illustrated in full colour on acid free paper and is only $8.95. The Newfoundland Dog’s Birthday Surprise is published by the author and available for $5.95 plus $2.00 shipping by calling her at (709) 673-3886. I got to meet the author on the Great Newfoundland Dog Trek and cherish my autographed copy.

If you go to antique stores you will find lots of 19th century books with stories about Newfoundlands. Here is a sample from the Alphabet Book, circa 1890:

N is for Newfoundland, of all dogs the best:
Just give me this dog, you may keep all the rest.

In the water he’ll jump and will struggle to save
A dear little child from a watery grave.

A lover of children, a boy’s closest friend,
A servant of man on which to depend.

He’ll carry a basket or drive home the cow
or keep back a tramp with his fierce bow-wow-wow.

Peter Maniate has been writing columns for the Newf News, the magazine of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, since 1979.  In 1996 he started writing a Newfoundland dog column in the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine on behalf of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada.  When Dogs in Canada ceased publication at the end of 2011 he continued the Breedlines column in the Newf Newfs.

Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.

Dogs in Canada

February 2000