cover image Brenda and Edward

Brenda and Edward

Maryann Kovalski. Kids Can Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-919964-77-8

Kovalski's (The Wheels on the Bus) slow-moving yet agreeably romantic tale introduces ""two happy dogs"" who live in a comfortably furnished cardboard box behind a bistro. One afternoon, Edward forgets to take his dinner for his shift as a night watchdog. Brenda, lunchbox in mouth, tries to follow him and is hit by a car. The driver takes Brenda home to live with her, and many years pass before the aging duo is reunited in a predictably felicitous outcome. Offering ample compensation for a somewhat stiff and occasionally trite text (the canine couple has ""a touching reunion"" and lives ""happily ever after""), Kovalski's hearty, cleverly detailed illustrations (which even include box flaps inside the dogs' home), have an appealing, timeless quality. The pictures portray decidedly likable creatures who, inventively, behave as actual animals in public and only at home engage in human activities such as reading the newspaper in armchairs. Though some may find it short on action, this is a fetching little fantasy. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)