Did I choose this book based solely on the title? Absolutely! Alexander the Great Dane by Chris Capstick and Monika Filipina is a fun little story of what happens when the underdogs (quite literally) decide it is time for a change. Asides from the excellent pun in the title, the ‘ancient’ theme in this one can also be found in the setting of Ancient Egypt — where we are also treated to an alternate origin story for the Pyramids of Giza!
When young pup Alexander grows up, his playful days come to an end when he realises he must spend the rest of his life toiling away for others. And not just any others: the Giant Cats who rule over the land. My now 6yo (!) is a huge cat fan – and has recently been learning about the Great Sphinx of Giza – so he was especially delighted by the illustrations in this one. On their heads, the Giant Cats wear colourful Nemes, the royal headdress worn by Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. This striped linen cloth was tied at the back of the head, with lappets (the bits that hang down!) coming down over the shoulders.
The Giant Cats, along with their smaller sized feline cousins, keep the dogs hard at work all day long. But Alexander and the dogs have had enough, and decide it’s time for a change. So they set to work and together come up with various devious plots to try and rid themselves of the cats – but can they succeed?
In addition to the fantastic illustrations, the story itself is great for younger readers to tackle themselves. My 6yo is currently in Year 1, and could read through it no bother — he was able to use his phonics to tackle a couple of words he wasn’t sure about (like ‘banquet’ in the page above). The text and the images pair together really well, too, not just in narrative but in tone.
But more importantly, the story itself is fun! Lots of silliness and lots of giggles while we were reading it. Especially when the Giant Cats put on their hats and begin to dance!
Okay, so the story may not have anything to do with the actual Alexander the Great or any of his activities in Egypt – we checked with our resident Hellenistic historian (daddy), and alas Alexander the Great did not rid Egypt of Giant Cats. But it is a great fun little story for any littles who are fans of cute animals, silly tales, or Ancient Egypt!