One-Dog Canoe
written by Mary Casanova
illus. by Ard Hoyt
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2003
(HC) 978-0374356385
Mary at a book signing
for One-Dog Canoe
A young One-Dog Canoe fan with
his very own one-dog canoe!
One-Dog Canoe
I set off one morning in my little red canoe.
My dog wagged his tail.
“Can I come, too??
“You bet,? I said.
“A trip for two – just me and you?

But when “with a slap and a swim” Beaver scrambles in, and then “with a ‘woo-hooo!’ – flap!” Loon lands in the young canoeist’s lap, it’s clear that this will be no ordinary canoe trip.

A bouncy rhyming text and exuberant pictures full of funny, escalating antics will have young readers laughing out loud—for just when it seems the canoe can’t hold anyone else, frog jumps in!

If you enjoyed One-Dog Canoe, the same creative team of Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt have a new book for you: Some Dog!

Reviews and Comments
This cumulative an excellent choice for storytime.
—Library Media Connection

Casanova puts a North Woods spin on the popular folktale ‘The Mitten’ as she loads up a small red canoe with animals of the forest and lake until the tippy boat can take no more ... Rhyming text sets a buoyant tone ... An amusing subplot, about the fate of the girl’s picnic lunch, develops wordlessly, to great effect. Readers will happily embark on this animated excursion.
—Publishers Weekly

Casanova’s rhyming text employs a familiar cumulative twist as each animal requests a ride. ‘I doubt you'll fit. It’s a one-beaver, one dog canoe,’ she tells a curious loon ...
—Kirkus Reviews

  • Wyoming’s “Buckaroo” Master List, 2005-2006
  • Illinois “Monarch” Children’s Book Master List, 2005
  • Minnesota Humanities Council, “Storytime” Master List, 2003
  • Minnesota Book Award Finalist, 2004
  • Maine “Chickadee” Children’s Choice Master List, 2004
  • Nevada Children’s Choice Master List, 2004-2005
  • Missouri “Building Block” Children’s Choice Master List, 2005
Curriculum Information
A downloadable reading guide for parents and teachers is available from the Minnesota Humanities Center’s “Minnesota Storytime.”

A girl and her dog's one-dog canoe ride become more and more chaotic as large and small animals hop aboard. The animals that come aboard include:

a bear

a moose

a wolf

a beaver

a loon, and

a frog

Discuss how the plot of this story is similar to or different from either
of these tales:

The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen

Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham

A Note from Mary: The Story Behind One-Dog Canoe
Mary and Bror, 1996
The cocker spaniel in this photo inspired a story called ‘One-Dog Canoe.’ One day when I was on a writers’ retreat, I decided to take a break from my laptop and went canoeing with my friend, Phyllis Root. Halfway across the small bay, I looked back. Bror, the cocker spaniel, was following us from the island. We pulled over to a rock and let him hop aboard. On we paddled, and around the next bend, a golden retriever stared at us from the end of a dock. He hung his head and seemed to ask, “Can I come too??

“No,” I said aloud, “it’s a one-dog canoe.? I glanced back at Phyllis and said, “I think there’s a story here.? I went back to my cabin and quickly jotted down the ideas. Many drafts later, the story sold.

Ard Hoyt and Mary Casanova at
Children's Literature Conference,
Warrensburg, Missouri 2004

One-Dog Canoe first sold in 1997 to DK Publishers and was scheduled to be released with illustrations by a different illustrator. For personal reasons, the initial illustrator could not finish his work on the book.

While searching for a new illustrator, my editor, Melanie Kroupa, chose to work with a different publisher—Farrar, Straus, Giroux (FSG)—and brought One-Dog Canoe with her. Eventually, after more than a year of searching for the right illustrator, she discovered a new talent in Ard Hoyt. One-Dog Canoe was finally published in the Spring of 2003. And Ard Hoyt's illustrations—north-woodsy, whimsical, and imaginative—were worth the wait.

Mary Casanova. Site designed and maintained by Winding Oak.