Loula fears Mama might have had it with their family's drooling, wagging, lunging, gargantuan Great Dane, Mister.
The little girl decides to refine the hound's etiquette through a series of lessons, all of which go terribly (and predictably) awry. Draped in Papa's necktie, Mister smashes plates, teacups, and saucers, splashes merrily in a burbling park fountain, and dashes through a museum chasing a squirrel—spewing spittle the whole time. Discouraged, Loula heads home, her longtime chauffeur and friend, Gilbert, at her side. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations convey the clumsy, constant movement of a loping, energetic dog. Action and motion stream through breezy, loose artwork: leashes stretch, tails and whiskers quiver, leaves flutter, statues...fall! While Mister's bulging eyes and slapstick stances yield easy laughs, Villeneuve's lines (subtly gestural and with varied weights and thicknesses) as well as her strategic placement of vignettes across stark, white spreads account for much of this book's comedic success. Small readers will also find the aid and collegiality Gilbert offers little Loula immensely pleasing, as few adults work happily alongside children as unmitigated equals. But Mama and readers both know that Mister is no monster, and the real focus of her frustration, revealed on the final page, serves up a satisfying finishing laugh.
Like a stinky dog-lick on the nose, this simply silly picture book will bring smiles to little faces. (Picture book. 2-6)