Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Woof: A Love Story

Woof: A Love Story
By Sarah Weeks
Illustrated by Holly Berry
HarperCollins, 32 pages
$16.99, ages 4-8

Was there ever a story of more woe than Juliet and her Romeo?

At the picture book level  "Woof: A Love Story," by Sarah Weeks might qualify. There's no bloodshed, but this tale of a lovesick dog has plenty of angst.

Really it's a charming and humorous tale of the communication issues that ensue when the sentimental hound fall for the fetching green-eyed white feline next door.

He's notices that her nose looks like tiny, pink cake-frosting rose, as she perceives in a worried thought bubble: "The teeth on that dog are as long as my tail."

While she sits safely high in a tree, he tries to tell her "I love you!" She hears "woof woof woof woof."

"Climb down. I adore you."

"Woof woof woof woof."

After many frustrated attempts, he barks: "You don't understand me" and slinks off, head hanging low.

He digs to make himself feel better and finds a bone – a trombone.

After a few false attempts he learns to play and music, a language that anyone can understand, wins over the pretty kitty.

When she tells him she loves him, it comes out "meow."

"But he understood what she meant anyhow."

A sweet story, with many connections that can be made to real-life situations.

Holly Berry's illustrations are marvelous, happy collages, full of color and life. Buttons, flowers and lace add pizazz. One fabulous picture shows the dog lying in the grass, hearts exploding from his chest. He's daydreaming about the cat, who is pictured in a heart-shaped thought bubble behind a wedge of chocolate cake decorated with a pink rose that sits right where her nose would be.

-Rebecca Young

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