In Appreciation Of Spot The Dog: Soft, Cuddly, Smiles A Lot
Eric Hill might be gone, but his loveable creation lives on.
Spot the Dog’s creator, Eric Hill, passed away earlier this week at the age of 86.
Hill published the first book about the puppy in 1980, Where’s Spot? The idea came from a lift-the-flap he had created for his then-two-year-old son. He went on to publish many interactive lift-the-flap books about the dog’s adventures, including Spot Goes to School and Spot Can Count. Later books such as Spot’s Touch and Feel Book were also interactive, using different materials instead of flaps.
Spot even grew with new technologies. Hill’s characters were adapted for television, and they were used to make nursery rhyme musical albums. Now he lives on with his own website, funwithspot.com. It has interactive games and downloads for children’s birthday parties.
Like many people, I grew up reading the Spot books. So here’s a collection of some of Spot’s best moments — a tribute to the creator of everyone’s favourite yellow dog.
Spot Loves His Mum/Dad
Okay, so these might have been unsubtle subliminal messages telling kids to appreciate their parents, but they were done in a super-cute way. And they make for excellent Mothers’/Fathers’ Day gifts, reminding your parents of a simpler time — which is a bit cruel, in a way.
Spot Takes A Bath
If only all dogs were as happy to take baths as Spot. This was part of the series Spot’s Musical Adventures. Each of the episodes features a song to accompany whatever Spot is doing. Elegant and minimal, like a Satie piano concerto.
All Spot Plush Toys
Plush toy Spot is just as cute as illustrated Spot, and a lot easier to cuddle as you drift off to sleep. He’s a also a great substitute when you’re little, and your parents won’t buy you a dog — and no, I do not still sleep with my stuffed Spot at twenty-something. Not at all.
Here’s where it all began for Hill. Spot is lost in the house, and his mother Sally can’t find him — it’s a masterpiece of narrative suspense. When we go back to this one after reading heaps of other Spot books, we see that his mother is the protagonist. It’s quite different to its successors, but it is the original, so that gives it some street cred. It’s the book that started a generation of children learning to lift flaps, count, touch, tell their parents they love them, and even take baths.
There are millions of children around the world who followed Spot on his adventures. We all owe a huge thank you to Eric Hill and the many dog-ged funtimes he gave us. Here’s to children asking where Spot is for many generations to come.
*spoiler* he’s under the flap.