This wonderfully illustrated debut introduces Louie, a clothes-wearing, kung fu–fighting canine in the tradition of Snoopy.
Louie the Lhasa apso is a real pal to his human owner, and despite his furry exterior, he’s convinced he’s a human, too. Each spread about Louie’s adventures features six lines of rhyming verse in an AABBCC pattern. Louie learns kung fu, wins a mud run (cheered on by his teammate, the boy narrator), picks up takeout Chinese food for the family, screams at a monster movie, and dresses up as a ghost before catching a cold and needing to rest. Then he’s back in action, sailing out to live on a buoy, singing and performing piano in a concert hall, flying to Hawaii for vacation, visiting Australia, and hanging out at the zoo with his owner. The biggest drawback here is that the first line of each stanza ends with either Lou or Louie, and there’s only so many words that rhyme with those two names, leading to some less-than-stellar results: “A dinner dish favorite for my picky eater Louie / is a plate of Chinese food, especially chop suey.” There’s no real transition from spread to spread, just a scattered list of the silly things Louie does, including some awkward flirting with the Hawaiian girls on his vacation. Each stanza keeps to its pattern well, and dog-loving kids may not mind the sometimes turned about phrasing of the first two lines as they celebrate the gleefully absurd actions of the “kinda human” dog. G’s cartoonish illustrations are delightful, capturing the silliness of Louie’s activities without undermining the fun. Louie, who walks upright like a human, typically wears a purple T-shirt, unless he’s dressed for snorkeling or performing at a concert. Louie and his owner, a blue-eyed Caucasian boy, are the only two repeating characters, but the rest of the cast features characters of different ages, ethnicities, and species. In a seafaring stanza, a clever fish steals Capt. Louie’s hat.
A silly collection of stanzas about a charming pup whose personality is ably captured in colorful pictures.