Saturday, February 27, 2010

This hound's from the pound

Fave new read: Dogs by Emily Gravett. Found it yesterday at Wellesley Booksmith where I snagged three treats. Clearly, Barry was not on duty to limit my consumption.
    At first glance the cover pup looks like a basset hound, and I jealously thought, what is it with the fascination with these ill-proportioned hot dogs? Any time a hound is suggested in a children’s book, it’s always a basset. (see, for example, The Hound from the Pound; Lunchbox and the Aliens, and a  forthcoming Clive Cussler story that I’ll pass on. Sleep, Little One Sleep by Marion Dane Bauer, unfortunately out of print, has the cutest cover painting of a basset ever.)
    So groan, groan, even though one of my favorite pals, Padi, is an honorable member of the breed. Her mom is children’s author Barbara Barbieri McGrath, famous for her M&M-brand counting books. My mom’s non-candy favorite is The Little Green Witch, based on ye olde tale of the little red hen. Mom identifies a little too closely with that one. (BTW, tried snagging an M&M’s laced cookie last night—not bad, except that it was followed by Mom’s fingers down my throat.)
    Everyone says that Padi and I look alike, and we do—except that my legs are about two feet longer than hers. She’s a good sport, even dressing up like an actual hot dog on Halloween and baying at her parents' display of a big stuffed basset stuck in an enormous web that would intimidate even hard-working Charlotte. Check out Padi's pix on Barbara's home page.
    Anyway,  I noticed there was something very feathery about the cover dog’s ears, so I opened up the wraparound cover to learn this hound is an amalgam of sorts—not at all a purebred, but that’s OK. A basset is depicted inside, and so is a very nice-looking Dalmatian—tail a bit too long in the leaping scene, but great Sparkyish spots—and, wonder of wonders, an actual foxhound! Not truly wondrous, because Emily Gravett lives in England, where there are tons of my shorter-legged and –eared brethren. Also, she knows her foxhounds: I’m on the page of dogs that don’t bark.
    So there.
    Checking out the inside of the UK edition on, I noticed that the language of one spread was changed for the U.S. market from “stroppy” (scary bulldog) and “soppy” (puffball). Good move. Good book!