Twenty succinct bits of advice for living are accompanied by whimsical oil paintings of an English governess and her canine charges.
The book begins with a tongue-in-cheek introduction, advising readers that Miss Wilhelmina Moon, dog governess, is sharing her “most important lessons for raising happy, healthy, well-mannered pooches—and people.” This is followed by 20 attractively laid-out double-page spreads. Most of them feature a one-sentence “lesson” on the verso, framed with wallpaperlike borders, and a humorous painting on the recto; two print the “lesson” on a doily placed over an illustration that stretches entirely across the two pages. A wide variety of dog breeds are accurately portrayed in a post-impressionist style—except for the anthropomorphic details that cannot help but charm viewers. (All the dogs in “Never stop learning” wear glasses, and two carry pens in their mouths.) And what a talent Hill has for that mea culpa doggy look! The fair, red-haired governess—impeccable in her long, white-collared dress—always appears kind, unflappable, and dignified. There is no human diversity here, as Miss Moon is the only person, but her equal poise at roadster-driving and archery along with more-traditional feminine activities provides a strong role model. The “lessons” range from timeworn adages to redundant phrases, but (speaking of timeworn phrases) every picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
Enchanting for dog lovers. (Picture book. 4-8)