cover image No Dogs Allowed

No Dogs Allowed

Stephanie Calmenson and Joanna Cole, illus. by Heather Ross. Holt/Ottaviano, $12.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9645-3

Frequent collaborators Calmenson and Cole begin the Ready Set, Dogs! series with a peppy story that takes the notion of dog-loving kids to the extreme. Best friends Kate and Lucie are obsessed with dogs, but live in an apartment complex that prohibits them. At a thrift shop, the two try on necklaces with a dog-bone motif and—by high-fiving and uttering “Woofa-woof!”—morph into dogs themselves. (Riffing on the joke that dogs and their owners can sometimes resemble each other, Ross’s cartoons show a humorous likeness between the girls’ human and canine selves.) Switching species at will, Kate and Lucie help lead three stray dogs to a shelter and taunt “the two most annoying boys on the planet,” who are bent on capturing and adopting them. In the story’s feel-good ending, the girls and boys join forces to win an Adopt-a-Dog Week songwriting contest. Good-natured banter and silliness (“Stop sniffing me!” “I can’t help it. Everything smells amazing—even you!”) move the story along at a brisk pace. Ages 6–9. Authors’ agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)