O’Hurley, a television and stage actor as well as a writer, serves as the narrator of this awkward, sticky-sweet story about what kind of dog makes the perfect companion.
The author and his real-life son are shown together in the first photo illustration, with the little boy holding his cuddly toy dog, who also appears on the cover. Subsequent spreads show a different breed of dog on each right-hand page, matched with one line of descriptive text on facing left-hand pages. Each short phrase describes one canine trait or behavior, such as floppy ears or sleepy eyes, which an ideal dog would possess. The rhyming text is sometimes cumbersome, with awkward scansion that leads to some convoluted usages (“[a]nd then have spots not”), and attempts at whimsy will sail right over the heads of the intended audience A pat ending shows the little boy asleep with his stuffed dog (who looks rather like a bunny), juxtaposed with his sentimental assertion that “[t]he dog that is perfect is the one next to you.” This overlapping of real dogs and their characteristics with the stuffed dog is confusing rather than clever.
Dozens of other, better books about dogs dig deeper into the bonds between child and canine. (Picture book. 3-6)