cover image I Got Two Dogs

I Got Two Dogs

John Lithgow, , illus. by Robert Neubecker. . Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-5881-9

Lithgow’s (I’m a Manatee ) singing tribute to a couple of canine ne’er-do-wells named Fanny and Blue strives for the kind of goofy, bouncy simplicity of Burl Ives’s classic Little White Duck album. But as line upon line reiterates the dogs’ gangly, insistent charms, song and text grow a little too familiar—even when Lithgow gooses the lyrics by turning words into howls (“They’re not too smart,/ But they’re loyal and true ooo ooo ooo ooo”). Neubecker (Wow! City! ) fares much better: his boldly inked, maniacal cartoons capture the full measure of four-legged joie de vivre and remind readers why it’s hard to stay mad at dogs for long—even when they rearrange sock drawers or share the joys of mud with startled bystanders. Ages 2–6. (Oct.)