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Friday, February 22, 2013

A Comedy of Errors: Pug and Doug by Steve Breen


PUG AND DOUG WERE ALWAYS HANGING OUT TOGETHER BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT BEST FRIENDS DO.

PUG AND DOUG HAD LOTS IN COMMON, TOO!

They share a fondness for doughnuts, scary vampires, and not-so-scary polka songs. But like most of the best buds in literature, they also have their differences. Doug dotes on the artistic side of life: he spots fantastical shapes in clouds and sculpts a passable snowman facsimile of Rodin's The Thinker. Pug does none of the above. His snowman looks more like Quasimodo, and to him, a cloud is just a cloud.
SOMETIMES DOUG THOUGHT THAT PUG COULD BE A REAL STICK-IN-THE-MUD!

But all is well with them until Doug's birthday approaches. Suddenly it seems that Pug is avoiding him. He has to dash down town "to pick up a friend." Doug spots one of their favorite photos together in Pug's trash. And then, when he begins to spy on him, even stooping to snooping through his window, he sees an fresh entry in Pug's diary:
"I'M REALLY SICK OF OLD DOUG... "

On a mission to discover what their problem is, Doug is about to knock on Pug's door when he hears his voice inside telling someone "You're my buddy!"

Brokenhearted, Doug comes to the inevitable realization that he has been supplanted in the best friend department.

In this comedy of errors, Doug's fertile imagination is NOT his best friend. It turns out that the Pug was interrupted while journalling and intended to write "I'm sick of old Doughnuts!" And his new best "buddy," is actually Pug's birthday gift for Doug, a parrot named, of course, "Buddy."

All's well that ends well, as Shakespeare's comedies of error conclude, and these two unlike and unlikely friends, like Frog and Toad, Elephant and Piggie, and many another comic pair, discover their misunderstandings when they talk things over...

"...BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS DO!"

Steve Breen's new odd-couple tale, Pug and Doug (Dial, 2013) makes this oft-told tale of comic misunderstandings fresh and new with  the subtle sub-theme that differences are what often give a friendship that special spark. The final-page panels have an unexpected but predictable little anecdote which ends the story with a bit of comic irony that readers will relish.

Breen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, uses his expertise in pacing panels within his layout to get the maximum comic effect out of his story's misadventures. As Publishers Weekly puts it, Breen's "design enhances the reading experience by turning a gentle, humorous story into a bit of a page turner."

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1 Comments:

  • A classic tale but one worth noting so that young children realize not to take first impressions literally and you can't always assume what you are seeing is reality.

    By Blogger Barbara A. Mojica, at 5:26 PM  

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