Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Dog's Life: Dog's Don't Brush Teeth by Diane de Groat and Shelley Rotner

In a departure from her popular school days series Gilbert and Friends,Diane deGroat has a brand-new flap book sure to delight youngsters.

In Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! (Orchard, 2009) co-authors deGroat and Shelley Rotner have juxtaposed flap pages with what "Dogs do"--ride in cars with heads out the window, fetch sticks--with what "Dogs don't"--drive the family sedan ("Are we there yet?") and swing for the fences in baseball games.

In deGroat's hilariously PhotoShopped illustrations, digital art meets careful illustration and deliciously embedded visual jokes. For example, in the spread which shows the "Dogs do" page, a dog is cleaning his teeth with Breath Bones and chew toys, while under the flap on the "Dog's don't" page we see what dogs don't do--polish their teeth (complete with orthodontia) with White Fang Toothpaste and Oral D Doggie Floss.

Kids will no doubt begin to anticipate the under-the-flap action as they proceed through the book: "Dogs do" howl at the moon; "dogs don't" shout rock 'n' roll; "Dogs do" squat to answer the call of nature; "dogs don't" sit on toilets. In the final spread the designers have another little visual joke. "Dogs do" sleep on their owner's beds, while "dogs don't" read in bed; the bedtime book for the pajama-ed canine reader is, of course, Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth.

DeGroat and Rotner use a variety of breeds in a variety of poses to make their Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! an inventive and charming addition to the "toy and movable book" genre for the preschool set.

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