Horse Meets Dog, the debut picture book from TV writer Elliott Kalan (“Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) tells the story of two stubborn animals who refuse to acknowledge one another’s identities. Upon first meeting, Horse assumes Dog is a tiny baby horse, and Dog assumes Horse is a very big dog. Their confusion grows until they are (literally) running in circles, unable to see the world from the other’s point of view.
With speech-balloons and Tim Miller’s expressive, cartoonish illustrations, over-the-top humor is the name of the game here, and the lively back-and-forth discussions between the two characters make Horse Meets Dog a particularly good choice for storytime. In one instance, Horse tries to feed Dog a bottle of hay and mocks Dog’s tail, telling him his tail should hang down “like a gorgeous hair waterfall.” Even gift-giving attempts fail: Dog doesn’t understand the heavy saddle Horse gives him, and Horse is utterly baffled by the concept of fetching a ball.
The new friends never come to understand the error in their thinking, and the comic rimshot of an ending—a bird appears to tell them they are “two weird-looking birds”—leaves readers hoping an epiphany will follow.