Olive and Pekoe are very different dogs, but they are the best of friends.
The friendship between Olive, an old, small dog, and Pekoe, a lively, large puppy, is presented in four vignettes of the walks the two dogs take together. Illustrator Potter’s impressively expressive naïve-style watercolor, ink, and colored-pencil illustrations perfectly nuance author Davis’ witty text. In “Walk One,” Olive and Pekoe explore the woods, where “Pekoe adores playing with sticks” while “Olive prefers resting in the mud and grass.” The friendship theme is humorously underscored when Pekoe brings Olive a “good stick,” which Olive “just looks at…but she appreciates the gesture.” “Walk Two” finds the duo unhappily caught in a thunderstorm—and here, Potter’s illustrations relay atmosphere and dog expression with striking sophistication given their inherent simplicity. “Walk Three” features chipmunks, and “Walk Four,” a canine bully. Each story contrasts, with a light, dryly humorous touch, the behavior of the elder, experienced Olive and the younger, enthusiastic Pekoe; and in each the theme of friendship is presented in a fresh, nonsaccharine way. Davis uses large words to convey the feelings of Olive (“Olive isn’t overly concerned about the chipmunk’s whereabouts”), but it fits the droll tone. The layout is consistent, presenting a full-page illustration opposite a page of text from spread to spread—until the final page, where the words and illustration are presented together; this clever design visually and textually summarizes the story’s theme of friendship’s togetherness.
A delight. (Picture book. 3-7)