cover image Dog and Bear: Two's Company

Dog and Bear: Two's Company

Laura Vaccaro Seeger, . . Roaring Brook/Porter, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-273-4

As in her first Dog and Bear book, Seeger (First the Egg ) offers three beguiling tales fueled by give-and-take dialogues between a dachshund and a multicolored teddy bear. This time out, though, Dog and Bear's personalities seem a little further apart, with Bear emerging as a quasi-parental sort. In the opener, Dog announces, “I am running away,” and Bear knows better than to fight. Bear helps Dog pack, says goodbye and adds, “I suppose you won't be staying for ice cream”—effectively changing Dog's plans without a word of protest. Next, Dog bakes and accidentally eats a birthday cake for Bear, who is nonetheless pleased (“What a beautiful candle!”). In the final story, Bear nurses an under-the-weather Dog. By the time Dog feels better, Bear needs a rest. Seeger employs casual gouaches in terracotta, ochre and olive green on a white ground, leaving imperfections visible. Her rough-hewn ink outlines and unpolished brushwork have homespun warmth, reminiscent of the paint-it-yourself glaze on a favorite mug. If Seeger keeps these coming (and readers will hope she does), Dog and Bear are likely to join the rarefied ranks of Frog and Toad, and George and Martha. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)