My Dog Is the Best

illus. by Paul Schmid. 40p. Farrar. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374300517. LC 2013041347.
PreS—Though "a boy and his dog" may not be a groundbreaking theme, it's often a popular one—and this gentle tale of friendship is no exception. A young boy addresses readers, extolling the virtues of his strong, smart, brave, and entertaining pet, with the constant refrain "My dog is the best." Meanwhile, the illustrations tell a different story: text reading, "He scares away monsters," "He helps the firemen," or "He listens to my stories" is paired with images of the dog snoozing away while the child capers and cavorts. This sweetly funny contrast between words and images is nothing new, but it will certainly provoke laughs. Thompson's simple text and short sentences will appeal to little ones, while the book's small trim size make it ideal for one-on-one sharing. However, it's Schmid's pastel pencil and digitally illustrations that really set this story apart. The child and his dog are a roly-poly pair, all soft curves and rounded heads and bellies. A muted color scheme and uncluttered spreads, depicted without backgrounds, add to the soothing tone. Using few details, Schmid makes the boy a delightfully expressive figure, striking memorable poses and pulling faces.
VERDICT While this is a familiar story, it's a well-executed and charming one.

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