Puppy and Baby are double the trouble and double the love in this baby-and-dog picture book.
The title-page illustration shows bald, brown-skinned Baby receiving a new puppy as a gift while dubious parents look on. Baby, Mommy, and an older couple who appears to be her puppy-as-gift-giving parents are all people of color with brown skin, while Baby’s father appears to be white. The presumably well-intended (and clueless?!) grandparents are never mentioned in the text and don’t appear again in the story, leaving Mommy and Daddy to deal with a series of mishaps as “Baby enjoys breakfast” and Puppy does too, and then they get dressed, work in the garden, and bathe. Understated text achieves humor through counterpoint with comical illustrations that reveal the messes and mischief inherent in these activities. When Mommy and Daddy collapse at naptime, wakeful Baby and Puppy overcome their separation wrought by a baby gate and crib and from then on: “Baby stays beside Puppy. Puppy stays beside Baby. Every single second. No matter what.” By the book’s end it seems that Mommy and Daddy have decided to just go with the flow of their gruesome twosome and embrace the toddler-canine chaos.
A book to enjoy with dog-loving little ones—if not one to follow for its gift-giving advice. (Picture book. 2-4)