cover image Good Dogs on a Bad Day

Good Dogs on a Bad Day

Rachel Wenitsky and David Sidorov, illus. by Tor Freeman. Putnam, $13.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-10844-4

In this series opener, a debut, the three eponymous good dogs, having run away from their homes for the day, learn to appreciate the forbidden pleasures of hole-digging and dumpster diving while grappling with the question of whether goodness is innate or predicated upon behavior. Writing from an alternating third-person perspective, Wenitsky and Sidorov introduce a group of friends who frequent Good Dogs doggy day care: faithful Hugo, a golden retriever and his “family’s assistant and schedule-keeper”; Lulu, a Yorkshire terrier and Instagram influencer (“more of a tiny fancy person with a tail and fur and, only once, fleas”); and King, an energetic young border collie mix. Attempting to figure out the goodness conundrum, the friends embark on a campaign of rule-breaking, led by a rogue French bulldog (named Napoleon, no less). Freeman illustrates throughout in a dynamic style reminiscent of William Steig. A story of redemption and unconditional love in the vein of books that employ animals as child-surrogates, this celebration of imperfectibility and consensual squirrel-chasing features a cast of sympathetic canines who find that “sometimes it’s nice to just be a dog.” Ages 8–12. [em]Authors’ agent: Stephanie Lane Elliott, Working Partners Limited. Illustrator’s agent: Penny Holroyde, Holroyde Cartey Ltd. (Mar.) [/em]