"I have a dog. Nothing exotic or special, just an ordinary dog. In fact, I always thought he was a boring dog. What I mean is, he can fetch, roll over, and shake hands, but mostly he sleeps and eats."
Or so the little boy in this story thinks, until one morning when he opens the door a little early and sees his dog jump out of a limousine. That night he decides to follow his dog, and that's when the fun starts.
Before he knows it, he has entered the little known world of doggy glamour. His dog, distinctly reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart, treats him to a nighttime adventure where he learns where dogs go to relax and sees what they do while their masters are fast asleep. A terrific read aloud, Nina Laden's story will have everyone captivated by the coolest dog around.
Plus, this is the fixed format version, which will look almost identical to the print version.
Making an auspicious entry into children's books, Laden provides a stylish, droll answer to the riddle of what dogs do while their owners sleep. Her narrator is forced to revise his low opinion of the seemingly sedentary family pet (``I always thought he was a boring dog'') after he spies the pooch alighting from a limousine early one morning, wearing a tuxedo. Tailing him that night, he discovers that the doghouse is in fact a well-appointed bachelor pad and his dog the owner of a spiffy canine nightclub, where dogs go to relax, get treats without having to lie down or play dead, and ``talk about their problems with the mailman, or with the poodle next door.'' Skewed angles and perspectives and a mauve-and-midnight-blue palette ably capture the boy's disorientation, wonder and eventual admiration of his pet's jaunty after-hours persona. The art is at once broadly expressive and full of small, witty details (e.g., the limousine's vanity plate reads K-9). The visual playfulness extends even to the hand-lettered text, which is animated by such variations as inverted lettering for ``roll over,'' chewed lettering for ``hungry,'' and near-pictograms (the word ``sit'' rests on a chair). A salutary outing spun from a simple but rich idea. Ages 4-10.