Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Praise for "All My Dogs"

Praise keeps pouring in for "All My Dogs: A Life" written by Bill Henderson and illustrated by me. I particularly like the Publishers' Weekly mention of the "famed artist"!

Interspersed with sketches from his childhood and adult forays into romance and publishing, Henderson reveals how much his dogs taught him about enduring tragedy and enjoying the pleasures of life. Few readers will get through this slender volume of heartwarming portraits and vignettes without reaching for the tissue box.

With dry humor and enviable honesty, this gem by Pushcart Press founder Henderson (His Son) tells his life story through 13 dogs—of different sizes, shapes, breeds, and mixes—that he and his family have owned. His first dog, Trixie (a German Spitz mix) shaped his formative years in suburban Philadelphia. After his friend's father kicked out the mutt Duke, a 10-year-old Henderson took him in. Labrador retriever Sophie saved Henderson's relationship with his future wife and witnessed the couple's daughter, Holly, grow up. Today, Franny and Sedgwick keep Henderson company. Henderson candidly discusses the deaths of his dogs, including the unexpectedly intimate depiction of the time he discovered Ellen and Rocky (a beloved Chesapeake Bay retriever and mutt) floating in a residential swimming pool in his upstate New York neighborhood. While making a solid, yet subtle, argument for why dogs remain man's best friend, Henderson also writes of his Christian upbringing and his "spiritual sojourn." The book is greatly enhanced by famed artist Leslie Moore's line drawings, and the typeface is Minion, which just happens to mean "faithful companion."
Publishers' Weekly

"Just when I thought it would be impossible for a dog memoir to set itself apart from the plethora of similar books on the shelves today, I read All My Dogs, a charming and moving account by Bill Henderson, founder of the Pushcart Press. Similar in scope and sensibility to Elizabeth von Arnim's 1936 classic, All the Dogs of My Life, this narrative chronicles the dogs with whom Henderson has shared his life, and the ways they informed it. . . . Henderson's way of telling an economical, well-crafted tale is similar to the manner in which he leads his life: resourcefully and creatively. His dogs have been invaluable companions, and their stories, as well as his own, make for a memorable read."
— Claudia Kawczynska (Editor-in-chief), The Bark Magazine

"It would be a mistake to dismiss All My Dogs by Bill Henderson as just another entry into the already inflated category of canine books, because this little memoir is masterful. . . . What makes All My Dogs extraordinary is Henderson’s skill at weaving together stories about dogs with the trials and tribulations of his personal life; especially moving is the author’s account of his own bout with breast cancer that coincided with his dog Lulu’s cancer diagnosis. Bill Henderson’s writing is simple yet eloquent, at times poetic and poignant. His descriptions of people, events, and scenes range from the humorous to the dramatic. Henderson well knows how to tell a story. He also knows he is lost without dogs. In a chapter entitled “Dogless Years,” Henderson writes of his first, unsuccessful marriage, lamenting, “The idea of children, or dogs, never came up. Our lives were as empty as a bare ruined choir.” Indeed, Henderson is at his best when a dog is by his side. That’s what All My Dogs is really about. Happily, this story reinforces what most dog lovers already believe—that a dog is the best companion a human could ever have."
 ForeWord Magazine