cover image THAT'S MY DOG!


Rick Walton, Charlotte Doyle, , illus. by Julia Gorton. . Putnam, $9.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23352-4

Thanks to jaunty typography and a slim vertical format, this book packs a visual wallop. Its basis is a cumulative series of adjectives, all in praise of a pet. "I've got a dog," announces a boy. "A red dog./ A big red dog..../ And he's slobbery!" Most every spread introduces and repeats a descriptive word and assigns it a particular color. "Red" is a fire-engine shade, "big" is baby blue and "slobbery" is turf green. The book also uses a variety of capital or lowercase, squeezed or separated characters (though always in a consistent typeface). Different font sizes within "bouncy" make that word jump, while spacious kerning and fine lettering make "sneaky" whisper on the page. Because the book is essentially a square folded in half, the narrow pages brim with multicolored terms, along with sleek airbrushed images of the narrator and his sidekick. High-wattage white backgrounds add oomph to the emphatic sentences, which are large enough to read from across the room. "He's my big red happy muddy smart bouncy slobbery sneaky stinky dog!" says the narrator, and his bubbly, unpunctuated statement packs the book from margin to margin. Walton and Gorton (who collaborated on My Two Hands/My Two Feet) show what design savvy can do for a run-of-the-mill word list. Ages 4-8. (July)