cover image Doggy Slippers

Doggy Slippers

Jorge Luján, trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado, illus. by Isol, Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $18.95 (36p) ISBN 978-0-88899-983-2

Luján (Brunhilda and the Ring) and Isol (Petit, the Monster) invited a group of Latin-American children to take part in a poetic "cook-up" in "a kind of poetic kitchen," explains Luján in an afterword, and this appealing collection of poems about pets is the result. Some are funny ("My turtle, Coco,/ is happy,/ is green,/ is slow,/ except when she falls/ down the stairs"), while others are tart ("My monkey and I are exactly alike,/ except for our hands and feet.../ and that I don't stink"). All are given depth and flavor by Isol's sly, sophisticated spreads, which pair frenetic scribbles with similarly energetic washes of color. It's Isol who conveys the humor in the title poem: "Littlekins is black, brown, and yellow./ When he came he was so small/ he fit into my doggy slippers." Littlekin's plump back end sticks out of a green slipper, whose huge blank eyes and frozen grin turn the puppy into an unexpected mutant. Pets bring out all their owners' powers of observation, it seems—as well as their love. Ages 2–5. (Aug.)