Translated from Dutch, this brief import describes the sometimes-humorous interactions between Dog and his toothy cousin, Wolf.
Presented in nine chapters, with just a few scant stanzas of free verse to a page, the stories evoke simple situations and minor conflicts, including a very scary (to Wolf, anyway) cat who has invaded his woods. Wolf, full of bluster, is never really as frightful as he thinks himself to be; Dog is mostly calm, although when faced with the stress of driving away the cat with a fearsome bark, he can only manage a pathetic “Weef!” This is all the funnier since the illustration shows him giving it his all before an unimpressed feline. In a typical passage, Wolf intends to raid Dog’s refrigerator: “Give me beer and meat and soup and cheese. / And half a dozen loaves of bread. / Heap the plate high. / I need to build up my strength!” In another, which seems to suffer from a translation issue, Wolf rearranges the letters of some of Dog’s words, creating new ones. Unfortunately, the rearranged word that confusingly sets the scene is “pack” to “cap.” Others—“live” to “evil” and “star” to “rats”—work better. More appealing than the text are Tolman’s delicately detailed, yet childlike color-infused, anthropomorphic illustrations that appear on almost every spread.
A quirky little tale with appeal to newly minted independent readers with sophisticated senses of humor. (Fiction. 7-10)