A huge, tan dog named Simon learns to share his new dog bed with the family cat.
From the very first page of the book, even prior to the title page, Simon considers his big, red bed a perfect present. But when the dog returns from a walk, he finds his bed has been taken over by the family’s sly Siamese cat, Miss Adora Belle. Simon tries several methods to evict the cat, including polite requests, howling, barking, and dragging the bed through the house and yard. He even tries to dislodge Adora Belle by perching on her special purple pillow. Simon finally decides to share his bed with the cat, concluding that “sometimes… / you have to pick your battles.” That expression may need explanation for younger readers, along with Simon’s habit of “rehydrating” by drinking out of the toilet. The story is quietly humorous as it tracks Simon’s tenacious attempts to solve his problem, but his capitulation to the cat’s stoic territorial occupation falls a little flat, as readers have no idea what other battles the dog and cat may have encountered. Digitally rendered illustrations in a moody palette of grays and blues are set off by the bright red bed, and the dog’s increasing frustration is conveyed by his sad face and sagging posture. Miss Adora Belle is sneaky rather than adorable, although both animals seem contented with their shared nap on the final pages.
Accepting what can’t be changed is a lesson everyone has to learn, even big, boisterous dogs (and presumably young readers, as well). (Picture book. 4-7)