cover image I Am the Dog I Am the Cat

I Am the Dog I Am the Cat

Donald Hall. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1504-2

A rottweiler and a green-eyed cat are the stars as well as the narrators of this second work from Hall and Moser ( The Farm Summer 1942 ). Hall's evenhanded and whimsical poem/play analyzes the nature of each species: ``DOG: I am the dog. / I like bones. / I like to bury bones. / As for eating, I can take it or leave it-- / but I like it when they feed me. CAT: I am the cat. / I won't care whether they feed me or not / as long as I get fed.'' Moser's paintings give each animal in the book a specific personality--the rottweiler shakes diamond beads of water from his coat or frightens ``the burglar disguised as a UPS man''; the cat peers intently through a window at a finch or sits like a queen atop a purple cushion. The feline rather disdainfully describes dogs as ``nervous and well-meaning''; the simultaneously ``dignified, / guilty, / sprightly, / obedient, / friendly, / vigilant, / and soulful'' dog says categorically that ``cats are weird.'' The absence of a clear story or plot, however, coupled with the arch tone of the text, may make the book more accessible and enjoyable to adult readers than to children. All ages. (Sept.)