cover image Dog Day

Dog Day

Sarah Hayes, , illus. by Hannah Broadway. . Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-31810-9

Somewhere between Alexandra Day's Carl books and all-out wish-fulfillment, this cheerful comedy from the U.K. begins in a straightforward manner: “Here is Ben.... Here is Ben's classroom.” Equally upbeat cartoons show a boy saying “Hi!” and a kindergarten or preschool room, with a wall in the background enlivened by photo-collage art. With a turn of the page, though, the surprises begin: “Here is Ben's new teacher. Wait a minute... Ben's new teacher is a dog!” A brown-and-white terrier sits on a chair, the words “Woof! Woof!” issuing from a dialogue balloon. Ben and his classmates woof back, and spend the rest of the day copying the dog's movements (wagging their bottoms, digging, fetching, etc.). A moment of tension arises when Mrs. Pink, the principal, shows up looking “cross,” but she can't resist the canine's charms any more than readers will—she joins in the action, just as kids will want to. Broadway, Hayes's (Nine Ducks Nine ) daughter-in-law, uses digital techniques to sneak a variety of realistic textures (woodgrain flooring, gingham fabric) into her sleek cartoons, adding lots of visual interest to a simple conceit. Ages 3–6. (Aug.)