A toddler plays with the family dog, describing their simple activities and extolling the virtues of the pup.
The unnamed narrator is dressed in blue overalls and appears to be a very young child, perhaps 18 months old. The dog is an overweight, nondescript sort who is sleepy and desperately trying to take a nap, while the toddler wants to play. This premise is telegraphed clearly on the title page, as the dog yawns and the toddler hopefully holds out a ball. The child’s simple narration of the dog’s tricks deliberately don’t match the illustrations of the dog’s behavior, as the dog is really sleeping rather than engaging in the described activities. For example, when the child states, “He plays ball,” the dog is shown curled up like a ball. Eventually, the toddler tires of this one-sided game and falls asleep on top of the dog. In a clever conclusion, the dog wakes up ready to play, holding out the same ball with a hopeful “Woof!” The ironic juxtaposition sets up caregiver-child conversations that will introduce preschoolers to the nuances of humor. Minimalist illustrations in soft pastels, tan, and gray have a quiet appeal, but the short text set in tan on white pages suffers from low contrast.
This simple, quiet story conveys the enduring bond between child and dog, with the added appeal of a joke that younger children just beginning to understand humor can enjoy. (Picture book. 3-5)