A ride through Richard Scarry territory with a canine cast.
Echoing Scarry’s larger-format panoramas, de Monfreid scatters nine doggy housemates over an encyclopedic series of scenes that are drawn in very simple cartoon style, decked out with identifying labels, and usually viewed from an elevated perspective. Between a morning “At Home” and a final “Night,” the dogs dress, go to town, to school, and the doctor’s; spend some time in the country on a farm; play games and sports in four seasons (on one double-page spread); stock up at the supermarket; and finally come back home for dinner and bedtime. Interspersed among these stops are encounters with the alphabet and numbers one to 11, plus galleries of land and sea creatures, fruits and vegetables, vehicles, and select occupations from “Vet” to “Cowgirl.” The dogs, all of assorted but mostly identifiable breeds, are indeterminate of age and, usually, sex. Aside from rare glimpses of a computer and a flat-screen TV, the world on display could be from Scarry’s era—except that (with a few slips: “Fisherman,” “Snowman”) the sexist language and ethnic stereotyping are absent.
These pooches get a lot done in a day, and toddlers who follow along will effortlessly pick up some vocabulary to boot. (Picture book. 2-4)