Dogs and Their People

Dogs and Their People, a picture book in the illustrative spirit of Madeline and Babar the Elephant, follows a girl as she makes her way home through what looks like a 1920s-era cityscape. As she walks, the girl takes note of dog and human pairs: "Some dogs and their people look alike,/ and others could not be more different./ But no matter what, everyone somehow seems to have found their perfect match."

Anne Lambelet's (Maria the Matador) watercolor, pencil and digital media illustrations in muted tones have the wry, sophisticated feel of New Yorker cartoons. The stylized figures in glamorous suits and gowns stroll the streets, leashed to their four-legged companions. Illustrations and text are gently humorous, with charmingly old-fashioned language. The narrator refers to the "matching mustachios... on Lord Banberry and his schnauzer, O'Grady." And when she sees a startled-looking man in top hat, cane and scarf being tugged by a pug, she says, "Augustus Pennyfarthing is very little, and/ his owner, Sir Archibald Pennyfarthing, is very big,/ but everyone knows which one of them/ is really in charge."

The pace of Dogs and Their People is pleasantly sedate, though Lambelet does take readers by surprise with a fun twist of an ending. No wild romps or diabolical plots here: simply a perambulation through the agreeable activity of noticing dogs and their people. Like P.D. Eastman's Go, Dog. Go!, which could be thought of as a younger sibling to Dogs and Their People, the message is plain: whether you're a dog or a human, it takes all types. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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