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Mortician to Begging Dog: "Now Play Dead."
on July 15, 2000
Before discussing the cartoons (which are wonderful), let me warn you against the miniature paperback version. It is very small, the cartoons are hard to see, you need a magnifying glass for some, the reproduction quality is poor, and the paper is not good. Stick with the hardcover.
I have rated the book as the hardcover version. The only drawback I saw to the 101 cartoons was the lack of a witty introduction (like those in the cartoon books of the New Yorker for business and money).
In a spirit of self-disclosure, I must admit that I do not have a dog now . . . but I have had one in the past. Several of my friends have dogs, so I think I can properly evaluate the book from a dog lover's point of view.
The relationship between human and dog is an especially close one. The humor works well when it alludes to that. For example, in a wordless cartoon, a dog looks resentfully at a man reading a book entitled "How To Be Your Own Best Friend." Another one has a couple in bed with lots of dogs: "If you lie down with pugs, you wake up with pugs." In a third, a woman with two suitcases is seen leaving with the dog while a man inquires of the dog: "Et tu, Baxter?"
Dog-human reversals also work: A dog doctor examines a human and notes, "Well, your nose feels cold."
Sometimes the humor is aimed at the human, such as: A psychic tells a dog her/his fortune, "You will be going for a long walk."
Inevitably cats are part of the picture: Two dogs talking to each other spot a cat walking down the side walk, "Do you want to handle this, or should I?"
Sometimes dogs become just like people as in: A man walks down the street with a dog walking on hind legs holding onto his arm, "She never took to the leash."
What do dogs think of their humans? "They never pushed me. If I wanted to retrieve, shake hands or roll over, it was entirely up to me."
As someone who had a Sheltie, this one got to me: A sheep is leading lots of dogs in a herd, and a man says to another man, "I understand that in your country this thing is done quite differently."
Humor is a window onto our stalled beliefs that keep us from grasping our full potential of progress and joy from each day. Let these wonderful dog cartoons remind you of the potential in everything around you!