A French bulldog learns to love the new baby at his house.
Rosco is a “heavyweight champ,” a fierce protector of his territory. He barks at any perceived threat, illustrated by repeated streams of the word “Bark!” set in hand-lettered, flowing lines that cover an entire spread. Attractive, large-format illustrations in cut paper, watercolor, and pencil use a pastel palette and lots of white space to tell the story of the perceived matchup between bulldog and baby. At first Rosco is hurt and confused by the new, pink-skinned baby at his house, but then jealousy sets in, and the pair face off: “Two heavyweights. One house.” The story structure shifts to a boxing-match format, with dog and growing baby skirmishing in rounds one through eight, augmented by scores posted at the bottom of the page. By Round 8, the baby has grown into a toddler, and he and Rosco are pals, “totally knocked out” as they nap together. Boy and bulldog are then faced with new opponents: newborn twins. The final line of text ominously predicts, “This house wasn’t big enough for the four of them.” Though it may be amusing for adults, the boxing-match metaphor is on the ropes here, inappropriate and way over the heads of the intended audience. Showing a protective, jealous dog in an unsupervised setting with a baby sets up an unsafe situation that is presented as simply humorous.
Call the ref—this bulldog and baby are down for the count. (Picture book. 3-7)