Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dogs Will Be Dogs

When you really stop to think about it, our lovable canine companions have us pretty well in tune to their daily schedule which runs like clockwork.  Who needs to set an alarm anymore?  I do not.  It's the same time each and every day for getting up for breakfast, going for a walk, breaking at lunch for another walk, dinner, another walk, and hello...isn't it time to go out again because aren't we going to bed now?

Author/illustrator Carter Goodrich must know this to be true for how else could he so thoroughly and completely convey this innate trait of dogs in his latest title, Say Hello to Zorro! 

Readers are initially introduced to Mister Bud, a lovable dog with everything just the way he likes it; his own house, bed, toys, dish and schedule.  This schedule is enumerated page by page, sometimes punctuated by a human response; "Okay...okay.", Take it easy....".  Mister Bud concludes this list by looking gruffly, straight at the reader and making no bones about no exceptions, whatsoever. 

But as they say about the best laid plans, er schedule, that is all about to change. One day at Greet and Make a Fuss Time, Mister Bud is astonished to have to say hello to Zorro.  The worst part is that he is moving in!  What!? Is this really happening?  It did not go well for these two...oh no...not one little bit until they discovered that they had something in common.  A lasting, lovable and laughable friendship is formed.  Spare text, at times only a couple words, sets the tone and spins this tale at exactly the right pace.

Carter Goodrich is gifted at using watercolor to depict expression and each little canine nuance with paws-itive panache.  The eight small portraits of our companions that decorate the endpapers foreshadow their daily escapades.  The unique presentation of the title page and publisher's information, beneath the two playing towel tug-of-war, on sides opposite on which they would normally appear, set the tone for change to come.  Before the story begins the page showing the two sitting side by side with their backs to the reader surrounded by circles of bibliographic information informs the reader that an unusual treat awaits.  Use of color and space delineate mood and story flow as does the different font type, size and color of the narrator, human and Mister Bud and Zorro.

The entire book is a delight in word and visuals but my two favorites are Wake-up Time showing a metal footboard, quilt and Mister Bud's long nose and eyes peering at the sleeper and  Nap time was more comfortable picturing a large, soft, yellow rug with a hint of a green strip beneath Mister Bud and Zorro at rest back to back.

The author promises that this is the first in a series.  Readers will hardly be able to wait.

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