cover image It's Hard to Read a Map with a Beagle on Your Lap

It's Hard to Read a Map with a Beagle on Your Lap

Marilyn Singer. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-2201-8

This unfocused volume celebrates dogs of all shapes and sizes with limericks, rhyming couplets and other sing-song verses. The title phrase, which constitutes an entire poem (and the sole reference to a beagle), serves as the jumping-off point for mini-odes to such breeds as the ``Mexican hairless'' (``The time you save not cleaning hair / Will let you knit her underwear''). Singer's ( Chester the Out-of-Work Dog ) overabundant, frivolous rhymes, unified only by their doggy theme, neither follow a story line nor stand as solid components of a collection. Oubrerie's ( The Kooken ) pen-and-ink sketches of recognizable but soulless canine types coexist with exaggerated, crocodile-mouthed cartoon dogs; his highly colored illustrations suffer from the same disjointedness that afflicts Singer's refrains. Although the authors show a willingness to experiment, their fluctuating styles--paralleled by varying typefaces--produce little more than cacophony. Ages 6-9. (June)