cover image No Dogs Allowed!

No Dogs Allowed!

Linda Ashman, illus. by Kristin Sorra. Sterling, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4027-5837-9

Ashman (Come to the Castle!) lets Sorra do most of the storytelling%E2%80%94the text is all but superfluous%E2%80%94in this fantasy about a cafe owner plagued by his pet-owning customers. Sorra's digital artwork combines a warm, painterly quality with clear, easy-to-decode visual information. Sad-eyed Albert, the cafe owner, is ready for business in a white shirt and natty bow tie, but he's obsessed with keeping his cafe free from unusual creatures, and he changes his sign accordingly: "No one with fur allowed," he scrawls hurriedly after a girl appears with a large kangaroo. What Albert doesn't see is the party unfolding by the fountain in the square, as his rejected customers congregate there instead. A magician performs, the pets make friends, and ice cream is served. Sorra (King o' the Cats) captures the city's sophistication, as well as the contrast between the smartly dressed children and their wacky pets%E2%80%94an armadillo, an iguana, an elephant. Elegant storytelling fun comes with the extra satisfaction that derives from having to use visual clues to figure out what's happened. Ages 3%E2%80%938. (Aug.)