Saturday, September 10, 2016

CAT-astrophe! Teddy The Dog: Be Your Own Dog by Keri Claiborne Boyle

Folks, life is great here in Teddyville.

I'm the Leader of the Pack, the Big Cheese, you might say.

Teddy the Dog is an only dog, an only pet, even, which makes Teddy the Top Dog, the only pebble on the beach, so to speak.

Life is good. He pursues his mission to stop and sniff at will.

If he's hungry, he is free to overturn the hot dog cart and scarf up all the wieners he wants and to leave his signature paw print (in pink) on the neighbor's freshly painted white house.

I'm a charming and fetching dog (who never actually fetches!)

But all that ends abruptly when a special delivery package arrives with a note from Aunt Marge:

Dearest Teddy,

Please take care of little Penelope.

And that's the end of the good life for Teddy. A kitten is an unknown quantity. What do you do with a CAT-ASTROPHE in a box?

Teddy gives it a try. He tries teaching the cat to walk on a leash. But cats don't follow the leader of the pack--or anybody else, apparently. He treats the kitty whom he names Fishbreath to a car ride with her head out the window, with an equal lack of success. A cat with windblown whiskers is not a happy camper. Teddy loves dog paddling during a dip in the neighbor kid's plastic pool, but a swim leaves Fishbreath bedraggled and mad as only a wet cat can be!

Maybe Fishbreath likes to play ball? She stares unenthusiastically as it rolls by her cozy cat bed.

I did find there was one thing we could agree on.

Neither of us is going to fetch.

Teddy the Dog decides to try a little psychology on Penelope. He follows her lead and tries sitting in a box.

A cat can be a tough customer when it comes to behavior modification. As veteran cat owners can testify, a cat's personal creed has always been "I did it MY way." But, hey! If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, as Teddy concedes that a catnap with Penelope in a comfy chair is something a dog and cat can share, in Keri Claiborne Boyle's first picture book outing for her noted cartoon dog, Teddy the Dog: Be Your Own Dog (HarperCollins, 2016). With an easy-going theme of "different-strokes-for-different folks," Boyle's text is buoyed by Jonathan Sneider's clever illustrations which poke gentle fun at both Teddy's overblown ego and Penelope's hoity-toity cat-hood on their way to a live-and-let-live Grand Alliance--for which all owners of both a cat and dog around the house can only hope.

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