Sometimes a title just grabs you and says Read Me. This is one of those titles. It’s the first of two reviews I’m doing this week, both of them books for children. There are three books in the “Two Dogs in a Trench Coat” series; this is the first. Sassy and Waldo are two dogs whose lives are devoted to eating food, protecting the household from the evil squirrels, and napping in the sun. Until they realize Stewart, the boy in their house, needs saving from a place called School, a place he goes every day and returns dejected and bored. Thanks to Waldo’s surprising ability to speak English, the two dogs finagle their way into the classroom, where they learn just how exciting school is, and help Stewart make a friend along the way.
Sure, it’s a silly premise, but it’s a lot of fun. Author Falatko has a good grasp of kids’ humour. She must also have dogs in her life, as she has a keen and perceptive understanding of how dogs appear (from our view) to think and what motivates them – I laughed out loud several times! Illustrator Jack, born in Vancouver but now living in the U.S., gives lots of life to these dogs and the humans in their world, with black-and-white ink drawings in a cartoon-like style. Emerging readers will appreciate the large typeface and the many illustrations, on nearly every page, resulting in a book that is nearly 200 pages long, so it looks like a longer novel than it really is. And in a nod to dogs everywhere, all food references are in a bold type that leaps off the page. Teachers and parents might grumble at Stewart’s last-minute effort on a pending school project, but let it go – just enjoy this silly and comical story. A fun new series that is sure to please young readers who like humour. My thanks to Grand Forks & District Public Library for obtaining a copy for me on interlibrary loan.
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