cover image A Dog Needs a Bone

A Dog Needs a Bone

Audrey Wood, . . Scholastic/Blue Sky, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-545-00005-5

With his heart-shaped nose, huge, faux-innocent eyes, squat yellow body, and a single-mindedness bordering on obsession, Wood’s (Silly Sally ) titular hero just about sums up what can make a dog so endearingly goofy. “Mistress, kind mistress,/ please give me a bone,” he pleads, “and I’ll stay by your side,/ no more will I roam.” And becoming a homebody is only one of the promises the dog makes: he also forswears all bad behavior and offers to do light housekeeping (the pictures show him inadvertently causing messes as he performs his chores). Wood works in crayon on brown paper bags, media well suited to her simple vocabulary and knowing visual humor; her picture of the dog festooning the powder room (and himself) with tissue paper offers the cartoon canine equivalent of the classic hand-in-the-cookie-jar expression. Her text has a few oddities. The dog narrates in present tense (“What’s that? Woof!/ Could it be her car door?”) while his mistress’s speech is quoted in past tense (“ 'I’m home!’ she called”). A refrain-like variation on “If my mistress will PLEASE give me a bone!” switches the text into third person and can also bring the pleasing rhythms Wood has built to a sudden halt. Ages 3-5. (Sept.)