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GOOD DOG by Maya Gottfried Kirkus Star


by Maya Gottfried & illustrated by Robert Rahway Zakanitch

Age Range: 4 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 2005
ISBN: 0-375-83049-9
Publisher: Knopf

Spectacular paintings on black backgrounds, a sleek design, and charmingly understated poems add up to blue-ribbon merit in this handsome poetic tribute to man’s best friend. Sixteen unrhymed poems are perfectly paired with paintings of specific breeds (and one happy-go-lucky mutt), capturing each dog’s attitude or special characteristics in a way that shows great empathy and understanding of the canine world. (In a departure from standard publishing practice, Gottfried wrote the poems to accompany the paintings rather than the reverse.) Each poem offers a distinctive canine voice, from a feisty Chihuahua to a faithful Collie, and many have tongue-in-check humor that will appeal to both children and adults. The volume’s sophisticated design showcases each poem on a white background with additional line drawings of the chosen breed, facing a painted portrait of a single dog against a dramatic black background. Most of the portraits are straight-on views of the dog in an expressive pose, with the breed name casually lettered in white chalk in the background, resulting in a simple but memorable artistic composition. Dog lovers of all ages will find this collection an irresistible treat. (Poetry. 4-12)