Buddy and Earl—dog and hedgehog, respectively—experience life’s most peculiar phenomenon: a baby.
Buddy and Earl engage in a child’s-eye-level Q-and-A when they hear that Mrs. Cunningham is coming for a visit and bringing her “adorable” baby. “So! What’s a baby?” Earl asks. Do you drive it around, plug it in, eat it? Buddy explains: no, no, no. They are small, eat things off the floor, and sometimes smell very interesting. The baby arrives—it’s the kind that already walks—and proceeds to commit quiet mayhem, going so far as to play with (eat, really) Buddy’s and Earl’s toys and food before being put down for a nap. “I’m glad she put you in your cage,” notes Earl. The baby breaks out and toddles off. Earl is beside himself. Maybe the baby will encounter poisonous snakes or bubbling lava or stampeding dinosaurs. Buddy and Earl find the baby safely washing stuff in the toilet bowl—whew! This story tickles the funny bone raw, and Sookocheff’s bare-bones linework and minimal palette keep events immediate. Fergus throws in just enough wry commentary to make readers think and a few vocabulary ringers to really keep them on their feet: “foreboding,” “gummy” (as in gums, not Wrigley’s). The humans are all white, except when the baby’s face turns a deep, tomato red.
Earl concludes that babies and dogs have something in common...they both make the world a happier place. Of course. (Picture book. 3-7)