When it comes to animals, some like bears, wolves, alligators, and lions frighten us. We've heard scary stories or seen horror movies about them; running through our heads are images of them eating little people up. We can even imagine the dangers of a big dog on the loose.

Various members of the large Hope family see a big black dog out the window. They describe it as being as big as a tiger, an elephant, a Tyrannosaurus rex, and other huge animals. Frightened, they turn off the lights, close the curtains, and hide under the covers.

Then Small Hope, the youngest member of the family, decides to go outside and see what all the commotion is about. Everyone is apprehensive about her having her head munched and her bones crunched. But Small Hope confronts the big black dog and dares it to follow her under the bridge, over the ice, and through the playground. During this journey, he gets smaller until he's able to enter the Hope house through the cat flap.

Australian writer and illustrator Levi Pinfold has created an inventive and engaging children's picture book about facing our fears and shelving all the toxic tales that have made wild animals into enemies. We need to be courageous and tender like Small Hope. She is the hero who goes on a journey and comes home with a big surprise that transforms other members of her family. Black Dog is targeted for children ages 4 and up.