Normal puppies do everything wrong" . . . so "you've got to Love! Love! Love!" That, in toto, is the import of these nutshell-sized comic frames in which two squawling kids and a hand-wringing shaggy creature in a lavender cowl try to come to terms with one puppy's normally active bowels and bladder. Pup's expulsion from West Pointer Academy (he's underage) and the boy and gift's dreams of idealized dogdom are flashes of Sendakian imagination, but too many frames simply show the characters standing around exchanging recriminations ("How about wetting? Call that normal?" . . . "This guy puts up with anything!" . . . "Typical parents!") while the hapless pup goes, literally, about his business. The question, paraphrased, is "have you stopped beating your dog?" though we bet that even kids who'd never consider kicking Fido might figure that twelve weeks is a long time to wait before starting training. Granted, Sendak choreographs his potato-faced performers and poop humor with his accustomed panache and affection, but it's still just a dressed up lecture-from an expert (Margolis) whose approach we find questionable. Much as one admires Sendak's ability to be up front aboug dog do, it don't make much of a book.
Read full book review >