A child in a dress walking home from school narrates observations of neighborhood friends and their dogs before returning home, where a pet awaits.
The unnamed child, who appears to be about 10, walks home alone through a park and past town houses and shops. Comments on each owner-canine pair note that the pairs are usually similar in some way but sometimes are diametrical opposites. The narrator knows most of the people and their dogs by name, though there is no direct interaction with them. The setting appears to be a city in the 1920s, suggested in art deco elements and Jazz Age clothing styles. The watercolor, pencil, and digital illustrations use white backgrounds, placing on them stylized characters with a cubist influence in some of the faces. The narrator and some of the dog owners present white; other characters have brown skin, and two have faces in light blue. The story unfolds at a sedate pace without much excitement or movement, uplifted by a surprising touch of humor in the conclusion. The narrator’s own pet is not a dog as expected, but a “fat, lazy, grumpy old… / CAT!”
Though the premise is clever and the illustrations intriguing, the story keeps the narrator at a distance from both the other characters and readers, making it an emotionally disengaging one. (Picture book. 3-7)