Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pooch Par Excellence: The Perfect Dog by John O'Hurley

"Is there a dog that is perfect?” my son asked on a whim."

Perfect for what? If you consider all the curious cross-breeds and marvelous mutts, as well as the plenitudes of purebreds, there is no doubt there is a dog that is perfect for every purpose.

John O'Hurley's photographic essay, aimed at canine-loving kids, uses double-page spreads to set off charming illustrations of each dog against a one-line description of a desirable doggy quality:

Ears that are floppy....

Or cropped and alert...

Eyes that are sleepy...

Or perky and pert....?

Some of the breeds, such as the Labrador and golden retrievers, Dalmatians and Chihuahuas, will be identifiable by youngsters, and others, like the sleepy, wrinkly Shar Pei, will take a bit of research to identify, since the author offers no glossary of the breeds shown.

But in John O'Hurley's latest, The Perfect Dog (Grosset & Dunlap, 2013), the color photos of dogs doing what dogs do are  quite charming. O'Hurley's brief rhyming narrative is easily accessible for beginning readers, some of whom will undoubtedly fall in love with their perfect dog before this little book ends, while the wondering child character settles for his stuffed dog as the perfect bedtime buddy.

The dog that is perfect is the one next to you.

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