cover image Dr. Dog

Dr. Dog

Babette Cole. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-679-86720-3

Cole (Mommy Laid an Egg) uses a medical pretext to indulge fans of scatological jokes in this off-color, disjointed tale. Things begin innocently enough: the Gumboyle family's dog is not only their pet but their doctor. Dr. Dog discourages one Gumboyle from smoking by showing a diagram of tar-filled lungs, and he performs a tonsillectomy on another. But the prognosis for good reading takes a turn for the worse with a drawn-out description of Baby Gumboyle's worm problem, which prompts some catchy advice from Dr. Dog: ``Never scratch your bum and suck your thumb!'' Equally disconcerting are the pages on beer-and-baked-beans aficionado Grandpa, diagnosed as having that ``terrible wind'' that must ``blast out of your bottom.'' Though such passages may leave modest readers aghast (har har), they are likely to inspire hilarity in the toilet-humor crowd, particularly when Grandpa's ``wind'' blows the roof off the Gumboyle home. Few others will embrace this indelicate story, but admirers of Everybody Poops are in luck. Ages 4-6. (Sept.)