Stories about going to the library on a rainy day are not new, but this one has a cunning twist.
It’s raining outside, and Sam, a white girl, is cozily reading when her dog, Benny, tries to get her to play with him. Instead, she takes him to the library to check out a book for him. But the stern librarian (a white woman wearing red glasses) boots them out. Dogs are not welcome. Undeterred, Sam ties Benny to a fence outside the library and chooses several books that she holds up to the window. A book about knights? Benny pees against a tree. A book about the circus? Benny turns his back. On her third try, Sam finds the perfect book for Benny. Here’s the twist: the book is not a storybook but a cookbook of sausages. Both dog and girl are happy. Some sentences are printed in boldface type, underscoring the characters’ interactions. The sprightly illustrations utilize a strong line and add intriguing background details. The appealing cover depicts Sam in a yellow slicker and Benny holding a book in his mouth, foretelling the storyline. While most of the illustrations are fairly realistic, Benny, perhaps some kind of terrier, is blue rather than a natural dog color and sports a rather distracting, drooping mustachio.
Though this is something of a one-joke, tail-wagging-the-dog tale, kids will enjoy the playfulness and, no doubt, try reading to their own dogs. (Picture book. 4-6)