A debut picture book explores some of the myriad things that dogs don’t do.
Dogs don’t attend school or prepare their own taxes; they don’t high-five, drive, or perform gymnastics. Drenth posits a number of actions readers should know dogs don’t do, sometimes interrupting the list with things they actually do (learn, enjoy car rides, etc.). The amusing images depict the ridiculousness of what a dog might look like indulging in noncanine activities. Debut illustrator Vazquez takes each of the ideas to its funniest extreme: A floppy-eared gray terrier takes a coffee break among office cubicles, a greyhound sprays his athlete’s foot in a locker room, and a pooch wearing the name tag Buck (featuring a star) works as a cashier at a coffee shop. The majority of the activities are humanized, with dogs in costumes, but a corgi who doesn’t pick up his poop is depicted in gleeful, doggy glory while his African-American owner looks sadly at the pile he must collect. The most important thing dogs do (featured in a spread full of assorted canines and their diverse humans)? Love and “be / your loyal friend / FOREVER WITHOUT END.” Drenth’s solid rhymes often feature uneven beats, which might throw off adults reading the text-light book aloud to young children. But he also gives the rhyme scheme an intriguing syncopation for repeated reads.
While silliness rules here, the simple vocabulary, offbeat rhyme scheme, and laughworthy images should have lap readers requesting this canine tale again and again.