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From the I Can Read! series

by Sarah Weeks ; illustrated by Alex Willmore

Pub Date: July 9th, 2024
ISBN: 9780062431622
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Like-minded canine pals attend a dog show.

Sketty is a big, long-haired pooch; Meatball is short, round, and red, with expressive ears. But their superficial differences mean little. Their tongues usually loll out in concert, and together they bark, play, sniff flowers, roll around, and, tired out, “curl up together under the lemon tree and take a nice, long nap.” Looking for something new to do one day, they decide to visit the dog show. The dogs at the show all seem different: “big dogs with little spots” and “little dogs with big spots,” “hairy dogs, scary dogs, and very hairy scary dogs.” Sketty and Meatball enjoy pointing out variations on their own looks. Which dogs do they like best? They’re in perfect agreement: “hot dogs!” (Sharp-eyed readers might notice that Sketty likes ketchup, while Meatball chooses mustard.) After they eat, Sketty proposes a nap. Meatball doesn’t have to voice agreement; he’s already asleep, nestled against Sketty. The soft, tail-wagging, cartoonish illustrations are often set against Popsicle-bright backgrounds. The canines are only slightly anthropomorphized, and the dozens of other dogs are goofily distinctive.

A pair we would happily hang out with again.

(Early reader. 4-8)