Enthusiastically and endearingly narrated by Splash, Senator Kennedy's Portuguese Water Dog, this spry tale features suitably airy, often comical ink-and-watercolor illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Small (So You Want to Be President?
). The bright-eyed canine introduces his beloved master, exclaiming, "The wonderful people of Massachusetts have elected and reelected him to the Senate for more years than I can even count!" Text and art strike a wry note as a skeptical Kennedy shakes hands with well-heeled folk at a gala—their toothy smiles clearly phony—as Splash reiterates the adage, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." With Small's help, Splash offers a breezy tour of Washington, D.C.'s key monuments and buildings, bragging that he knows the city "like the back of my paw." The pooch then describes highlights of a day in the life of a working dog: riding the underground tram from the Senate office building to the Capitol (Small pictures the pooch with wide-eyed anticipation); posing for a photo with students, barking to silence a group of bickering Senators and Representatives trying to negotiate two versions of an education bill, and expressing displeasure at being barred from the Senate chamber ("I've seen plenty of Senators, and they don't behave any better than I do!"). Biographical sketches of Kennedy and Splash and a succinct explanation of how a bill becomes a law conclude this amusing, informative account, certain to win the votes—and hearts—of dog-loving kids. Ages 4-8. (May)