Dogs of diverse descriptions are coerced by their owners into participating in a costume parade in this less-than-engaging story that tries too hard to be funny.
Each dog is introduced by name and characteristics on two facing pages with a portrait of the dog and a few lines of text from each dog’s perspective. Key words and approximations of the dogs’ barks and howls are set in varying typefaces and special treatments, interspersed with spot illustrations that delineate each dog’s character. The introduction of each dog is followed by a double-page spread of the costumed canine, with one descriptive word set in huge type related to the choice of costume. A pug named Gracie-Pants is happy to put on her ruffled dress and beribboned hat (Charmin’!”), and an obliging dachshund wears a hotdog outfit (“Weenie!”), but some of the other dogs are reluctant to try on their costumes. Eight dogs in all are costumed for the parade, and in the final pages, they are joined by other furry friends with floating balloons and sprinkles of confetti. Yelchin’s amusing gouache illustrations provide plenty of personality and clever humor for the pooches, but the overly cheery text, exaggerated canine noise approximations and a glut of exclamation marks don’t add up to a noteworthy story. (And the bathroom jokes surrounding the dog named Tinkles get old fast.)Let this parade pass you by. (Picture book. 3-5)