cover image Boot & Shoe

Boot & Shoe

Marla Frazee. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2247-6

With restrained humor and an eye for homey detail, Frazee (The Boss Baby) introduces near-identical terriers who lead a life that is “exactly perfect for both of them.” They share a dish, a favorite tree, and a blue cushion, but part ways to sit in opposite lookouts: “Boot spends his days on the back porch, because he’s a back porch kind of dog. And Shoe spends his days on the front porch, because he’s a front porch kind of dog.” When a mischievous squirrel pesters them into a mad chase (by colloquially getting “all up in [their] business”), the dogs accidentally switch positions. Frazee pictures them in silhouette on either end of a green cottage, each loyally standing guard and awaiting the other’s return; even when they circle their house, they walk counterclockwise and fail to meet: “It was a long, sleepless night.” Like Elisha Cooper’s recent Homer, this is an everyday dog story elevated to a thing of beauty by understated artwork and prose. Frazee’s hand-lettered type and the subtle differences between the well-groomed dogs add to the homespun, local vibe. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)