From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 1—Dogs, like dinosaurs, are a surefire draw for young children, and this eponymously named picture book is bound to delight canine lovers. On the cover, a large, winsomely drawn hound, leash in mouth and begging to go out, irresistibly invites young readers to pick up the book and start turning the pages. In minimal, rhyming text, an unidentified narrator describes its favorite kinds of dogs—big, small, stripy, spotty, tough, and soft—and, along the way, offers a subtle lesson in the meaning of opposites. Expressive pencil drawings, overlaid with soft washes of watercolor on creamy stock, waggishly animate more than a dozen varieties of dogs, including an enormous, protective Great Dane; a soft and squishy bichon frise; and an energetic Dalmatian. (The endpapers identify the types of dogs portrayed.) The surprise ending reveals the identity of the narrator—a cat, which qualifies "favorite" as any hound that doesn't chase it. The pacing of the simple text and scale of the drawings lend this title equally well to preschool storytimes, lap-sharing, and emerging-reader fans of Biscuit and Dog and Bear. A winner.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
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Canine fever sets in quickly: the endpapers depict a lineup of breeds you’re about to meet, the dedication is being dragged away by a mutt, and the imprint information is arrayed in the shape of a bone. So there’s no doubting Gravett’s first line when we finally reach it: “I love dogs.” The two-page spreads that follow illustrate in loving watercolor various sets of opposites: “I love slow dogs / and fast dogs. / Shabby / and chic dogs.” For big/small, Gravett shows an enormous Marmaduke look-alike nosing a tiny Chihuahua. For barking/quiet, a runt yips (illustrated effectively with multicolored dashes) while two floppy-eared larger dogs wince and paw at their ears. Most evocative are the layouts for hairy/bald (the page is obscured by the small slashes representing the floating hair of the shedding pooch) and good/bad (featuring two dogs, each holding a house slipper but with dramatically different results). Though the closing revelation that the narrator is a cat is unnecessary, this is a wonderfully warmhearted ode to four-legged friends. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Daniel Kraus
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