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Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Didn't Do It, written by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest and illustrated by Katy Schneider. Harper, 2010. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"Here are my rules:

Eat all you want.
Sleep when you want -
On the couch
On the bed
On your silk pillow.
Drooling is good."

If you haven't seen Once I Ate A Pie (Harper, 2006), you missed a real treat! Don't make the same mistake with this charming, and most enjoyable book. It is a perfect companion to the first, and you won't be sorry if you add both to your poetry collection.

I know you don't have to love dogs to appreciate it, but I am guessing that dog lovers will find it especially pleasing. Each of the poems is voiced by the dog pictured and run the gamut from confession to plea. Each of the dedications come from the heart, and introduce a true collaboration of wonderful words and beautiful art. The first illustration shows a pile of brand new pups, docile and dozing together as they begin life in a closet. The voice softly pleads for peace and quiet. The next gaffer is miserable and nameless, but determined that no cutesy name will do...he wants to be called Big Bad Bob! And so it goes.

Each new illustration provides life to the voice being heard. Textured and detailed, they offer a character to be loved and admired. The daily events that they face are new to them and evoke  fear, joy, adventure and love. You will find yourself  'awwwing' with each turn of the page. Everyone who reads or listens to the poems will have a favorite, and that feeling will only be enhanced by the accompanying art. And all those promises that assure they will live like dogs and not sleep on the bed will go out the window when faced with those engaging, winsome expressions. Until:

"Every night, you sing the song
About the stars
And moon.

Every night you pat my head.

Every night I climb under your quilt
And crawl
By your warm feet.
And close my eyes.
And sleep.

Every night."

What more could you ask?

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