A dog wonders why everything around him is so strange in this rhyming ode to imagination from debut author and illustrator Duggan.
Opening with a potentially confusing image of extra-long dog legs on the borders and a teeny-tiny pup playing ball in the center, this picture book introduces black-and-white dog Baxter, who explores a world of “singing sneaker trees / beside a swarm of cupcake bees” populated by spaghetti-haired humans, cats with donut hats, and other strange creatures. Baxter realizes the strangeness, and when he wonders aloud how he got there, a seed explains to him that he’s in his own imagination. In her illustrations, Duggan takes the imagination’s wandering to delightfully absurd ends sure to tickle toddlers and other lap readers. Her design (with large letters spelling out the word “Bark” for effect when Baxter calls out) and color choices are appealing, though the palette is somewhat subdued. The metaphor of the imagination’s voice coming from a seed is sure to appeal to adult readers, who can use the book to encourage their young ones to express themselves through their own artistic ideas, whether, like Duggan’s, these images are abstract or built on scribbles or just silly, like polka-dotted elephants and peanut butter–and-jelly mountains. Although Duggan’s rhymes sometimes scan a bit unevenly, the ideas here are the fun part.
Lap readers are sure to enjoy this trip into a canine imagination—and use this journey to jump-start their own art projects.