From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—This colorful picture book provides humorous information on how to make friends and interact with dogs. The tips are easy and useful, but are delivered in rhyme with an uneven meter that feels forced: "You're so polite!/You can pet these five,/but Maddie might bite." Or, "Before you give a treat to Kate/make your hand into a plate/Lick, lick, lick!/Too much is ick!/It's all right to say, ENOUGH/to all that/sloppy kissy stuff." The exaggerated, loose-line, cartoon art, filled with bright, digital hues, has a fragmented feel. The woman giving advice to the children wears black, pointy gloves and boots, resulting in a harsh, didactic tone. The concept and message are good ones and it's clear that careful thought and consideration went into the informative tips, but the execution is not entirely successful. Stephanie Calmenson's May I Pet Your Dog?
(Clarion, 2007) and Elizabeth Verdick's Tails Are Not for Pulling
(Free Spirit, 2005) are better alternatives.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
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Maybe smooching strange schnauzers isn’t such a good idea, but neither is cowering in fear. In this vividly illustrated and smartly written tutorial, Wahman runs through a set of rhyming tips for any child encountering a potential canine friend. Much of the advice is placid: “Stand still and let dogs come to you / to smell your hand or sniff your shoe.” Other advice is presented in rather startling fashion, as when flared, disembodied hands paw at a canine’s face: “Whap! Whap! Whap! Dogs hate that!” No matter the mood, the illustrations strike a perfect balance, using a spiky style reminiscent of papercraft atop bright, single-color backgrounds. The slightly surreal approach isn’t the most obvious choice when designing what is essentially a safety book, but it works, nicely isolating the details that matter most, whether it’s how a palm holds chow beneath a doggie’s chin or the way to curl your fingers before allowing a pooch to sniff. Gentle self-defense suggestions close this unique offering. Preschool-Grade 2. --Daniel Kraus