BooksForKidsBlog

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Critic's Choice: Dogs by Emily Gravett

I LOVE DOGS!

I LOVE BIG DOGS AND SMALL DOGS.

I LOVE HAIRY DOGS AND BALD DOGS.

Noted author/illustrator Emily Gravett celebrates the wonderful variety of dog shapes and dog personalities in her newest, Dogs (Simon & Schuster, 2010).

In clever and playful contrasts, an unseen narrator extolls her fondness for all sorts of canines, tough and soft, stripey and spotted, barky dogs and silent dogs, all shown in the most delightful of sepia and gray line drawings with just a soupcon of occasional touches of perfectly chosen color. Although the text itself is straight-forward enough, humor abounds in the double-paged contrasts: an enormously hairy St. Bernard sheds all over the pages it shares with the nearly hairless crested Chinese; a pampered, pink-bowed, and primped poodle casts a disparaging view upon an unkempt shabby mutt; a trio of long-legged and lean courser hounds cast superior glances back at a shambling Bassett hound; and a "good" shaggy dog fetches the bedroom slippers while the "bad" rascally retriever chews a pair to shreds.

And who is this fancier with such eclectic taste in dogs? Gravett's last double spread reveals this connoisseur of canines to be none other than a cat who reveals her one critical criterion:

BUT THE DOG I LOVE BEST...

LET'S SEE...

IS ANY DOG THAT WON'T CHASE ME!

An additional treat is Gravett's spot-on drawings of a variety of dog breeds--Saluki, Doberman, bull terrier, Chihuahua, to name a few--with their identities revealed for the education of those readers drawn to this portrayals of their characteristics, shown in the front and back endpapers.

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