A dog makes sure it is the center of attention.
This winsome story takes the premise of a child’s first animal-identification picture dictionary (in fact the crossed-out title on the cover is My First Animal Book; the title is written beneath it in crayon) that has been hijacked by the first animal presented in the book: a dog. A black-and-white, floppy-eared mutt with a crayon in its mouth takes the story in paw and makes sure readers notice who is really important in the animal world. Each double-page spread offers the simple text “This is a [whatever animal is being shown]” together with an illustration of that animal. The dog, however, inserts itself into each spread: cavorting, teasing, or, in the case of the giraffe, peeing (sure to be a reader favorite) and in general stealing the spotlight. The animals’ expressions run the gamut from weary through surprised to annoyed and irritated to let readers know what they think about this forward dog. More than once (as with the title) the dog crosses out the printed text to write itself in: “This is a dog.” Eventually the animals tire of this self-aggrandizing behavior, and a page turn reveals that “This is a chase,” showing the animals in full pursuit of the dog. But the next page turn reveals that the dog is back in charge. If readers aren’t laughing out loud by now, they aren’t ready for this kind of metafictive play—give it a few months and bring it back out.
A clever, wonderfully silly, delightful romp. (Picture book. 3-6)