Dogs, their owners, and the mischief dogs and owners get into can be found in many juvenile picture books. Four new books have dogs as their central characters.
“Naughty Mabel” by Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott and illustrated by Dan Krall is just the kind of book you would think Nathan Lane would write. Mabel lives in a McMansion and enjoys all the luxuries life can afford–caviar, days at the spa, etc. She is a very spoiled pooch whose days are filled with a variety of misdeeds. It seems no matter what she does, however, her owners forgive her. This book will find an audience most probably among the Hamptons set.
Lazy Dave is the main character in a book by the same name written and illustrated by first time author and illustrator Jarvis.This calm pet is so calm that he sleeps through most of the book. The action in the story comes from the fact that Dave is a sleepwalker. During those sleep-walking episodes, Dave chases cats, walks tightropes, visits outer space, and even apprehends a jewel thief. Jarvis as the illustrator uses a limited color palette and loose chalk and pencil lines. The end result is both simple and sophisticated.
“Sad, the Dog” by Sandy Fussell and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit is about a bulldog puppy, Sad, whose owners, Mr. and Mrs. Cripps, don’t want him. When they move they leave Sad behind. The new owners take him in, and all the things about Sad that the Cripps hated, the new owners love. The illustrator uses soft watercolors. The result, says one critic, is a calm and quiet book.
“A Dog Wearing Shoes” by Sangmi Ko is probably the best of this litter. Mimi and her mom find a stray dog on a crowded street and decide to take him home. The dog, of course, is wearing shoes. Mimi and the dog have lots of fun together, but one day at the park the dog runs away leaving behind one yellow shoe. She finds the dog at the animal shelter, but feels that she must look for the dog’s original owner. Eventually the dog is reunited with his young owner.
Mimi and her mother return to the shelter to find their own pup. Ko’s illustrations are in pencil with tiny pops of color.
All of these books are suited to children ages 4-7.