Claude in the City

Alex T. Smith. Peachtree, $12.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-56145-697-0
Although the book’s duotone artwork and small format don’t draw attention to themselves, British author/illustrator Smith’s canine hero Claude and his sidekick, a sock named Sir Bobblysock, prove to be fountains of good cheer and sweet humor. In the first chapter, Claude and Sir Bobblysock tour the big city; in the second, they make an unexpected trip to the hospital. Primer-like narration—“First, Claude and Sir Bobblysock went for a walk.... Everybody seemed very friendly!”—is upended by the artwork, which shows dog and sock strolling down the center of a busy avenue, oblivious to the rude gestures of human cabbies and bicyclists (and to the pink brassiere that flies out of the trunk of one taxi). In the hospital, Claude distinguishes himself by taking temperatures with a banana. While Claude’s unapologetic love of shopping (“Claude hurried inside and bought a beret in every color and every pattern”) and Smith’s twee narration (“He gasped like this: gasp!”) may cause some eye-rolling, there’s much to love in this resurrection of the cheerful city chronicle of the ’60s, complete with pillbox hats and fox stoles. Ages 5–9. Agent: Arena Illustration. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
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