Poor Dr. Dog, the hapless Gumboyle family pet and doctor who is pulled away from a conference in Brazil to tend to his sick and rather disgusting owners. They smoke, they catch colds, they get nits in their hair and worms in their stomachs. One of them, Grandpa Gumboyle, has such a bad gas problem that he farts explosively enough to blow the roof off of their house. Dr. Dog cures them all, but it's no wonder he needs to get away to a deserted island at the end of the book. The reader may wish for a similar escape before this story is over. There is interesting information here -- why smoking makes us cough, why we shouldn't swap brushes and combs, why we should always wash our hands. And Cole, never one to shy away from bodily functions, is typically offbeat and funny both in her text and her illustrations. As she did in her last book (Mummy Laid an Egg, 1993), she uses children's-style drawings to help the bug-eyed Dr. Dog explain each case. Still, the material in this original and irreverent look at common illnesses and afflictions is gross:"" 'Never scratch your bum and suck your thumb!' said Dr. Dog."" Ugh, puke.