cover image Naughty Mabel

Naughty Mabel

Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott, illus. by Dan Krall. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-3022-7

Lane and Elliott’s first picture book begins with Mabel, a French bulldog with huge batlike ears, floating in a palatial Hamptons swimming pool. It ends with Mabel unleashing a fart so powerful that it sends her owners’ guests fleeing in their formalwear. In between, Mabel tosses off bon mots (“I’m five! Oh, I know I don’t look it. Besides, five is the new three!”) and denies—and then impishly affirms—that she is indeed a bad dog. “Of course, I play by my own rules,” she says while wreaking havoc on a miniature golf course. “I’m a maverick, what can I say?” Krall (Sick Simon) gives Mabel a visual personality that’s part diva and part Auntie Mame, but it feels like he’s pedaling awfully hard to achieve a champagne bubbliness. As for the text, if Lane could come to every home and read this book aloud in his inimitable cadence, readers would be thoroughly charmed. But on its own, it’s a rambling monologue without any narrative cohesion beyond an arch attitude. Ages 4–8. Authors’ agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (Oct.)