The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, by Farley Mowat. New York: Bantam Books. $2.50. The Boat Who Wouldn't Float, By Farley Mowat. New York: Bantam Books. $2.50.
While some books can be wolfed down in one sitting, "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be" and "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float" shouldn't be. Classics in their own right by the of Canada's foremost authors, they are meant to be savored.
"Dog," first published in 1957, is ostensibly about young Mowat's Mutt, which delighted in climbing ladders and fences to chase cats, and in wearing goggles when traveling by car. But it also a sketch of the author's family. Mowat's father, a wanderlust-struck librarian who moved his family from Ontario to Saskatchewan, was a Bohemian in his own way as Mutt was in his.
"Boat," written 12 years after "Dog," is a robust tapestry of Newfoundland seen during Mowat's captaining of the Happy Adventure a leaky-as-a-sieve craft. From the first "someday-we're-going-to-laugh-at-this-but-until-we-do-keep-the-bilge-pump-going!" experience to the last, one is carried on by Mowat's warmly humorous recollection and obvious fondness for the whole experience.
The delicious humor and spirit of independence transcend national boundaries and can be appreciated by all.