Dog in Charge

K.L. Going, illus. by Dan Santat. Dial, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3479-1
A beleaguered bulldog tries herding cats in this high-anxiety comedy, Going’s (Fat Kid Rules the World) first picture book. In panels that open the tale, readers see the amiable Dog sitting, staying, and dancing on command—in a pink tutu, no less. Dog revels in hugs from his young owner, who instructs him to cat-sit while the family goes to the store. He benevolently eyes the five cats, and a thought-bubble shares his optimism: “First we will sit and then we will stay.” The cats have other plans, though, swiftly dispersing to wreak havoc on the kitchen counters and in the sooty fireplace (“ ‘Out,’ barked Dog. Swish! went the ashes”). Santat’s (Tom’s Tweet) overlapping comics panels suggest frenetic activity; spreads picture Dog running from room to room, and the repeated words “No cat. Or was there?” encourage readers to find pointy ears under a blanket or a tail protruding from a clothes hamper. With skillful use of repetition, an agreeable and entertaining animal cast, and a tidy ending of the best kind, dog people and cat people alike have reason to approve. Ages 3–8. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2012
Release date: 05/10/2012
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