A menagerie of small stuffed animals comes to life in a little boy’s room, with three diminutive dogs turning into traffic police officers on motorcycles.
Other little animals drive cars around the room, illustrating common traffic mishaps. The canine cops patrol pretend roadways around the bedroom, giving out traffic tickets to a speeding mouse and toad, cautioning a goose who runs a red light and sorting out a collision between a bear and a pig. The short, punchy text written in rhyming couplets uses just a few words per page to describe the traffic flow, with lots of action words and concluding exclamation marks revving up the plot. The illustrations, in oil paint on cotton canvas, have a dreamy quality, with muted hues and a mottled effect in the solid backgrounds. Though this complements the imaginary nature of the premise, it’s an odd contrast with the pithiness of the text, which calls out for vibrant primary colors. In a clever conclusion, the final page shows the toy vehicles parked on the floor around the bed, with the animals seated in rows with innocent faces. The little boy who owns the toys wears a puzzled expression—he’d left the cars in a shopping bag in the story’s opening illustration.Preschoolers who like to act out imaginary dramas with toy cars and trucks will enjoy these petite pretend police dogs. (Picture book. 3-5)