A coddled French bulldog rules her household like a queen until a baby arrives in the family.
An extended textual metaphor of a pampered pooch as a royal character is the premise of this cleverly constructed but predictable story. The dog is treated like a princess as a puppy and receives the name Queen Dog along with a crown and a ruffled Elizabethan collar. The text describes the dog’s behavior as events in a royal household, while the illustrations show corresponding scenes in modern settings. For example, leading “her people on quests for great treasure” shows the dog chasing a garbage truck, and organizing “royal hunts” depicts Queen Dog chasing a squirrel. The dog’s white owners are her servants, until a small “visitor” (also white) arrives, and Queen Dog’s world changes. At first the dog is jealous of the new addition to the household, but eventually Queen Dog becomes protective of the new “princess-in-training,” as well as her loyal friend. The story keys in to the popular princess theme with the baby’s name: Princess Catherine (as in the Duchess of Cambridge). Cheery illustrations in a pastel palette have a greeting-card prettiness tailored for younger preschool-age children. However, the nuances of the dog-as-queen metaphor require an understanding of historical royal life beyond the background knowledge of the intended audience, and the capacity to follow the intended disparity between text and illustrations is a sophisticated one.
This offers lots of commercial appeal with a clever text, polished illustrations, a princess in pink, and a cuddly-cute dog, but the overall effort is forgettable. (Picture book. 4-6)