cover image Flo & Wendell

Flo & Wendell

William Wegman. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3928-4

Wegman continues his string of Weimeraner stories, but he tweaks his approach. Instead of dressing big sister Flo and younger brother Wendell in actual clothing, he paints lumpy, toddlerlike bodies below photos of their stately dog heads with strokes of gouache. Flo and Wendell appear in scenes of hilarious domestic ordinariness, clad in baggy pullovers or baroque creations from the dress-up box. The tongue-in-cheek text is just as gratifying. Flo at a schoolroom desk: “Flo is very sophisticated. She can read and write. She can even tie her shoes.” Flo glowering out of a baby carriage, her parents standing protectively over her: “When she was little she couldn’t. She didn’t have shoes.” The story might be regarded as a gentle parody of brash and sequined little girl stories. In any event, the contrast between the dogs’ deadpan stares and their lives of suburban industriousness—“Some of Wendell’s recipes are better than others,” Wegman writes as Wendell stands howling at a kitchen table covered with containers of tuna, ketchup, and chocolate syrup—will raise grins from even the crabbiest readers. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)