cover image DOGS RULE!


Daniel Kirk, . . Hyperion, $18.99 (45pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-1949-2

Kirk (Go! ) celebrates all things canine in this jokey, illustrated collection of 22 poem-songs, which he and an unembarrassable band perform on an enclosed CD. In Kirk's grainy caricatures, the pedigreed and mixed-breed dogs have human-like eyes and earnest smiles. Each piece takes a dog's point of view, from "Stay Out of My Yard!" to "Chasing My Tail." "Red Rubber Ball" confronts the audience with a full-bleed, close-up image of a dog holding a drippy ball in its jaws: "It's wet and it's sticky, and ready to throw./ I've chewed it for hours. How soon can we go?" "Purple Rhinestone Collar," performed as a blues song on the CD, pictures an offended-looking bulldog who has been forced to wear the fey accessory. "Lapdog" introduces a groomed toy dog ensconced in the lap of a dowager: "Feed me a bonbon; some cookies will do—/ A caviar sandwich? I'll share it with you!" A puppy laments being called a "Bad Dog," a hound misses its owners in "Howlin' Time" and a scruffy mutt praises its favorite sniffing spot in "Fire Hydrant" ("Every dog who's been here/ leaves behind a special scent./ I don't know where they've gone,/ but I can tell you where they went!"). A sleepy ballad, "Dog-Tired," closes the book and the folksy, mostly acoustic CD. Kirk's monotonous poems, most of them overlong and propelled by singsongy rhythms, will likely hold the interest of only the most sentimental dog lovers. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)