Title: The Picture of Dorian Greyhound (Classic Tails #4)
Author: Oscar Wilde & Eliza Garrett
Illustrator: Pastiche Pastiche
Genre: Classic, Short Story, Picture Book
Book format: Hardback
Description: The greatest works of literature, as told by the finest breeds.
Dorian Greyhound is the best of his breed – well tempered, beautiful and pure of heart. So Basil Basset, an artist, paints a portrait that reflects the very essence of Dorian’s soul.
Then the moral corruption of this sweet creature begins. On the outside, Dorian remains young and sleek – but as his naughtiness increases, the portrait starts to reveal his inner decay…
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
My Review: Having read two other books from the Classic Tails series, ‘Romeow & Juliet’ and ‘Pugs & Prejudice’ first, I was excited to read this one despite the fact I have never read or seen the original Oscar Wilde story. ‘The Picture of Dorian Greyhound’ is an interesting book with some beautiful illustrations. The book is a hardback and reminds me of the old Ladybird books I used to have as a child as the book is the same size with a matt finish, and has some lovely thick glossy pages inside with text on one side and a detailed illustration on the other.
The story itself is a much shorter version of the original ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ and begins with Basil Basset painting a portrait of Dorian Greyhound while recounting how he’d met him, to his friend Lord Wooffon. When Dorian visits Basil he meets Wooffon who becomes a bad influence on him. I don’t want to detail the story but will say that it’s much darker than the other two books I read in this series. Although a lot of what happens to Dorian and what he does is left out from the original book, the story still takes on a sinister turn and left me with mixed feelings having finished it.
The story is easy to read and the illustrations are really beautiful and very detailed. I loved reading the story but given the way it ends and the realistic images of the dogs I just didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped.
The pictures in this book are really lovely and I do like how realistic all the dogs look. The dogs have human bodies and human clothes but the pictures do show things such as the dog’s tails and I love that one character, Sybil Dane, not only looks like her breed but it’s also reflected in how big she is compared to other characters. There’s also a very subtle detail in all of the images which isn’t easy to spot but if you look closely every picture looks as if it has been painted onto canvas and it just gives these images an extra special feel.
What I love most about the Classic Tails series and this book too is all the dog references which make the story more funny. Apart from the obvious names of the characters being dog breeds, there’s also mention of other dog things such as greeting someone with ‘a delicate sniff of the other’s hindquarters’ and one character is contemplating a squeaky ball!
Although overall I do like the book and still find many of the dog references and pictures cute, the story of Dorian Greyhound is a dark one, just like the classic, and the ending is one that can be a bit shocking if you’ve never read or heard of the original before. The last images of Dorian’s painting (or pawtrait as it’s called in the book) plus some of the other images towards the end of the story are a little dark and perhaps disturbing if you’re expecting a lighthearted and funny story like you get with ‘Pugs & Prejudice’. The realism in the images can feel all the more eerie if you are a dog lover and don’t enjoy the overall darkness of the story and I’m not sure if this would make some dog lovers like or dislike the book, especially considering this book feels like one to give as a gift rathe than for serious reading.
Despite what I’ve said I would still recommend this, it’s certainly made me want to read the original now, as it feels as if there are large chunks missing from the original story. And I think many people might get interested in this classic if they read this canine version first, however given the darkness of the story I certainly wouldn’t recommend this for anyone younger than teens to read as some of the images can scare younger kids, especially dog lovers.
What do you think on this doggy re-telling of the classic story? Have you read the original or this canine version? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂