A boy wonders what his dog dreams about.
A little white boy introduces readers to his dog, Scooter, whom the boy knows well. He knows what make Scooter’s tail wag: treats, people food, squeaky toys, and his dog friends—all labeled on one double-page spread. The things that make Scooter growl are similarly presented. The little boy continues chronicling what he knows about Scooter: words Scooter knows, when Scooter’s thirsty, and when he’s scared, etc., but the one thing the little boy doesn’t know is what Scooter dreams about. This seems natural to wonder about, but the answer that satisfies the little boy—him—feels a little forced, as is the sudden appearance of the character (his grandfather, who’s fishing) who provides it. With most characters (both child and adult) referenced only in the text, and the backgrounds up until the end of the book either basic washes or generic places (home, school, etc.) it seems especially odd to see an adult engaged in a very specific activity. Additionally, the proffered answer seems arbitrary. Perhaps best known for his illustrations of the Mr. Putter and Tabby and Gooseberry Park series, Howard’s human characters’ stylized faces make the dogs stand out as both expressive and delightful, while the hand-lettered text and child narration complement each other.
Certainly an ode to dog lovers, the conclusion may leave readers perplexed. (Picture book. 4-7)