Even naughty dogs who can’t behave need someone to love them.
A small, squat dog with bug eyes and short legs with red-and-white striped sweat bands above the paws just cannot seem to do what’s right. The dog licks, bites, nips, paws, scratches, digs, messes, and steals—and that’s just on the first page of text. One of the pup’s worst habits is running away, which it does constantly, especially after it hears the grown-ups of the family (never seen) discussing how it’ll have to go. This time, though, the dog can’t find its way back, and it’s thundering. But its owner, a redheaded, bespectacled, white little child, finds it, and the adults change their tune about keeping their child’s beloved pet. But in a confusing ending to what has been a first-person account from the dog’s perspective, the text reads, “I don’t do words. / They make no sense. / I jump for joy… // …and jump the fence.” So, the dog, which obviously has learned nothing about running away, is saying it doesn’t understand anyone’s words, even though it specifically reacted to the grown-ups’ threats and it’s told the whole tale in (not bad, though repetitious) rhyme? The illustrations make clear the dog’s exuberance and sheer dog-ness, and its owner obviously loves it (except when the pooch rolls in poo).
A Valentine to dogs, though the message is mixed. (Picture book. 4-8)