cover image Goodnight, Good Dog

Goodnight, Good Dog

Mary Lyn Ray, illus. by Rebecca Malone. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-28612-2

There’s a famous Onion headline, “Dog Experiences Best Day of His Life for 400th Consecutive Day,” that essentially describes where Ray and Malone’s small yellow dog is coming from. His owner, a girl with braids, has bid him goodnight; the house has become “moon quiet”; and his “moon-round bed” beckons. But how can he settle down after a wonderful day of running in the grass, chasing the “yellow ball of sun bouncing across the sky,” and eating a bowlful of food? Ray, who prose was so captivating in Stars, again proves herself a gifted writer, capable of highly distilled poetic prose that’s beautifully accessible and allusive. Malone’s (Hug Hug!) bright acrylics, simple shapes, and minimalist detailing (two highly expressive dots stand in for the dog’s eyes) are a terrific match; her canine hero is endearingly eager and trying to behave, yet certain that the world revolves around him. When he does finally fall asleep, lulled by the same memories that were keeping him awake, he becomes an excellent role model for readers, as well. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Nov.)