cover image The Go Go Dogs

The Go Go Dogs

Chronicle Books, Jennifer Knapp. Chronicle Books, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-2028-8

Two energetic, shadowy-black canines romp through the pages of this offbeat travelogue from newcomer Knapp. Astro is a pensive pooch who ""ponders blades of grass, half empty food bowls, and astrophysics,"" but isn't above a gambol in the garbage pile. Astro's companion is Otto, a food-fixated, not-so-bright Doberman pinscher. Their story begins when they dig a hole in their backyard and plunge through it, surfacing at an English tea party a la Alice in Wonderland (complete with a white rabbit and hatter). From there, they journey to France (in a section titled ""Oodles of Poodles"") and Italy (where the ""Ciao Hounds"" consume spaghetti). They finally arrive in Rajasthan, where they purchase a magic carpet and soar home in time for dinner. Astro and Otto have much in common with Maira Kalman's globe-trotting dog, Max; their escapade unfolds in a wild spin of colors, patterns and variable sizes of type. A yellow-ochre Eiffel Tower perches on a lavender lawn, an orange circus tent stands against a confetti-strewn field of green, and hats and flowers fly pell-mell. Knapp's language, like her illustration style, is cheerfully convoluted: France is characterized as a ""Land of eclairs and berets and bonjour mon ami, kiss, kiss!"" The whirlwind tour concludes with a breathless, ""Good-bye, au revoir, arrivederci, jai ram ji ki!"" Knapp captures her title characters' boundless enthusiasm, and leaves readers wondering where these dogs might go-go next. Ages 4-10. (Sept.)