Traditional adversaries are (eventually) united by a common enemy.
In the beginning, Dog and Cat are friends. Selected separately by Mr. and Mrs. Button, they make the best of being forced to share a room. Soon enough, though, differing interests, styles and behaviors lead them to sabotage each other in the hope of becoming an only pet. Full-page pictures, double-page spreads and smaller vignettes, all created with colored pencil and enhanced with a Wacom drawing tablet, reveal the extremely anthropomorphic lives of these entertaining animals. Brown, blocky Dog has a recliner, a bed, lots of sports equipment and plenty of snacks. Sleek black Cat, by contrast, has sharp suits, lots of books and what appears to be a chemistry set. Some details, like the finned car that carries Dog home and the black-and-white photos that cover the endpapers, have a retro vibe that suits the text’s deadpan humor. Dog and Cat, meanwhile, manage to convey emotions clearly with just the quirk of an eyebrow or a sideways glare. What drives these two sibling stand-ins to bury the hatchet won’t surprise many readers, but their solution suits the overall silliness to a T and will likely lead at least some listeners to long for their own special place.
The stylish illustrations and sly wit on display here will please Gall’s fans and likely win him new ones. (Picture book. 4-7)