The dog page at the CCC says, People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people¡¦s confidence because they know how to keep secrets. But Dog People are somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric. There's more than that, but I'm already caught: children's books focus nearly obsessively on dog virtues. Honesty, loyalty, and being able to keep secrets appropriately: is there anything more scorned in children's books than a tattletale? Maybe a crybaby, but that's about it.
So very many children's books -- even the ones that are not excessively didactic -- focus around lessons of loyalty. Standing by your friends. Is this wish-fulfillment for bookish kids who don't have many friends or who have found the playground particularly fickle? I have to say that loyalty was not a prime virtue of the kids I knew when I was little. What else are children's books implicitly teaching at that level of focus? (Not a rhetorical question -- please discuss.)