Printz Honor–winner Going turns from teens and preteens to preschoolers in her picture-book debut.
When his family goes shopping, a much-loved bulldog is told, “‘Watch the cats, and make sure they don’t get in any mischief.’” Uh-oh: Five cats rapidly wreak havoc, spilling milk, breaking flowerpots and toppling books. Dog, exhausted from chasing the elusive, wily felines, gets into some mischief himself: The bag of cat treats he’d intended to use to induce good kitty behavior proves just too tempting. After he devours it and falls asleep on the messy kitchen floor, the cats team up to tidy the joint, room by room, and the family arrives home none the wiser. Going’s text is deadpan: Her Dog means well in attempting to apply to the willful cats the same sort of reward-oriented discipline that guides his life. Santat’s kid-pleasing pictures, with frequent inset panels, thought bubbles and plenty of visual play-by-play, evoke children’s animated cartoons. (He created Disney’s TV cartoon The Replacements.) Some 50 depictions of Dog (excluding funny endpapers that showcase a dozen of his most evocative facial expressions), convey the temporary chaos broadly yet thoroughly. Dog’s bewilderment at his returning owner’s praise morphs into a look of rapt delight as five treats come his way: doggily spot-on.
A rollicking romp. (Picture book. 3-6)