cover image RRRalph


Lois Ehlert. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-1305-4

Ehlert (Lots of Spots) goes for the punny bone in this picture book inspired by family jokes about dogs and the sounds they make. The titular pup is plenty talkative, and in text that reads much like a comedy routine, he delivers his punch lines right on cue. The book's design sets up the narrator's question to the dog on one spread and follows with his answer on the next, additionally providing readers with a silly guessing game. At the outset, the narrator insists his dog can talk. "I found out when we first brought him home and I asked: What's your name?" The answer? "rrralph ralph." Later, Ralph explains "what's on that tree" ("bark bark bark") and how the ground feels under his paws ("rough rough"). Ehlert's always crisp collages feature textured paper torn or cut (pinking shear edges suggest Ralph's fur and a wolf's teeth), along with found objects (screws, tree bark, bottle caps) against a rainbow of solid-colored background pages. Ralph's zipper teeth and soda-can pull-tab nose give him a playful, slightly rakish look that's not soon forgotten. Ages 2%E2%80%936. (May)