Desimini (Dot the Fire Dog) lets kids spend a day in the life of those often-idolized figures, police officers. Calm and low-key, the narrative is more informative and reassuring than dramatic. Lou and Sue work in a clean, sleepy small town, where their duties range from monitoring traffic ("Now, the twins, Tommy and Tim, can cross the street and go to school"), to ticketing a driver who has parked by a fire hydrant, to chasing and arresting a purse-snatcher. (They read him his rights, offer him a phone call, etc.) But if the story line evokes The Andy Griffith Show,
the paintings suggest Twin Peaks.
Rarely do Lou, Sue or any townsfolk smile enough to reveal teeth or open their mouths at all, leaving them with an artificial, stilted appearance. A turquoise sky or a vivid pink building does little to relieve the eerie feel of underpopulated sidewalks and darkened shop windows; the stiff quality of the compositions contradicts the easy friendship and professionalism attributed to Lou and Sue. The jacket design could be misleading if displayed face out: borrowed from an inside spread, the illustration shows just Policeman Lou (and just his name) on the front, looking off toward his partner, Policewoman Sue, who appears (and is named) only on the back cover. Safety tips for children are reviewed at the end. Ages 3-up. (June)