Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Beppe Giacobbe team up again for Nobody's Diggier Than a Dog, an exuberant companion to their earlier Nobody's Nosier Than a Cat. And do the dogs dig! From the very first page, the energy level is high and the dogs are hap, hap, happily digging and drinking and fighting and getting into just the sort of trouble that canine friends can, um . . . dig up!
The dogs romp the pages with abandon. It starts with digging a hole, but that is not all the dogs in this book can do. First the dogs are diggier and next they are piggier. "Nobody's piggier than a dog a dribble-drool, toilet-drink, breathy stink dog." Colorful, stylized dogs accompany the joyous text as Giacobbe manages to eke out every bit of emotion in each dog's face and body. In one illustration, the dog's forehead is scrunched up guiltily as she is caught lapping up the toilet water. On each page, all varieties of dogs get into mud, shoes and rain, and show the qualities that dog-lovers treasure in their mutts. They save the day, win the show, run in circles, snore away the day and even make a variety of puddles. The color palette varies with the mood, but the illustrations recall the cutouts of Esphyr Slobodkina from decades before.
Children who love to find the little details will enjoy watching the action in the background. Is that a dachshund chasing a black cat? Yes, it is! And that little pup is relentless; he chases her through each page until the dogcatcher achieves his goal. (And nothing is lonelier than the eyes of a puppy looking out of the dogcatcher's van, I might add.) After the little pup is driven away, the inevitable "Lost Dog" signs show up, and the little boy is reunited with his cuddly "lost-and-found, dog-pound dog."
For readers who love dogs and amusing wordplay, this little gem will be a book to read again and again.
Lynn Beckwith is planning to add an Australian Sheepdog to her soon-to-be-empty nest.