How to Be a Good Dog

Gail Page, Author
Gail Page, Author . Bloomsbury $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58234-683-0
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-59990-151-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-9461-4
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In this variation on the old feline/canine rivalry, Cat secretly works with Bobo the dog to refine his slovenly habits. Bobo belongs to Mrs. Birdhead, whose nest-like hat and its purple-feathered occupant balance primly on her auburn pageboy 'do. Bobo seems half-pet, half-person: he walks upright, tracks food all over the floor and chews on a book labeled "homework" (although there are no children present). His buffoonery lands him in the doghouse, where he mopes until Mrs. Birdhead goes shopping, and Cat surreptitiously trains him. Their "fetch" lesson goes awry when Cat throws a ball into the house, but "heel turn[s] out to be very handy" when Cat boosts Bobo through the window to retrieve the ball. Indoors, Bobo does yoga "sit" postures and practices "lie down" in bed. What Bobo lacks in manners, he makes up for in enthusiasm, and before Mrs. Birdhead can banish him again, Bobo struts his new stuff and wins a reprieve. Page's debut closely resembles Pinkwater's "bad bears" picture books in its pratfalls and amateurish visuals. In the mushy acrylic images, Bobo appears to be formed from a lump of grayish-white clay. His malleable, clumsily shaped body stretches to emphasize his clown-plus-canine qualities, and he lends gusto to the otherwise lukewarm custard-colored pages. Ages 3-8. (Apr.)

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