Overview

In this heart-stealing picture book, fine artist Robert Rahway Zakanitch gives us 16 masterful, soulful, impossibly expressive portraits of dogs, and Maya Gottfried wonderfully captures their voices and inner personalities in 16 enchanting poems. It’s a doggie delight!

These dogs beg to be patted, tickled, scratched, and ruffled. Which one will be your best friend?
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Overview

In this heart-stealing picture book, fine artist Robert Rahway Zakanitch gives us 16 masterful, soulful, impossibly expressive portraits of dogs, and Maya Gottfried wonderfully captures their voices and inner personalities in 16 enchanting poems. It’s a doggie delight!

These dogs beg to be patted, tickled, scratched, and ruffled. Which one will be your best friend?
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Every dog has his day-and his own spread-in this spunky collection of poems from a dog's eye-view, created by the team behind Last Night I Dreamed a Circus. These pooches have personality plus, from the chow who's eager to get outdoors ("Listen Up! It's time to go./ Get the leash. Let's hit the road") to a recently groomed Pomeranian upset about his appearance ("Look at me!/ Hair! Hair! Hair! I can barely see!/ Now I'm as round as a powder puff./ This is just embarrassing"). Alongside their individual poems, each of the 15 purebreds featured here (plus a mutt) appears in a full-color, full-page portrait on black background, opposite several spot sketches in black and white. The design helps give readers a more rounded understanding of what the dogs are really like. Gottfried's brief verses brim with a warm humor that pet owners will readily appreciate (e.g., a maltese with flowing white fur and a flower over its brow inspires a riff on marital vows: "Do you take this dog to be your friend?/ Do you promise to... be faithful to her, and her alone?"). Young readers will also have a chuckle imagining dogs expressing various sentiments. For his inviting artwork, Zakanitch takes inspiration from his previous "Aggressive Goodness Series" of large-scale canine paintings, and Gottfried also used the artwork as her inspiration for the verse. They do these dogs proud. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Dog lovers will find this collection so doggone good that they will want to share it with friends and perhaps man's best friend—his dog. Some dogs are among the more exotic: chow, Pekinese, Pomeranian, and Maltese to name a few. Others are more common and often found as pets: Chihuahua, corgi, bulldog, collie, Scottish terrier, and a mutt. The full-page illustrations are terrific—the Westie has a truly sweet expression, the Pekinese is sad, the King Charles Spaniel does not look very friendly, and the Chihuahua has a real in-your-face attitude. The poet relied on the drawings for inspiration. Among those that I particularly enjoyed include the poem about our friend the Chihuahua, which ends with, "Don't you mess with me." You have to feel sorry for the Pomeranian who lets everyone know that she is not pleased with how she looks, "Now I'm as round as a powder puff. / This is just embarrassing." In addition to the large single-page illustrations there are sketches of the featured dog scattered on the page containing the poem. This book is aimed at dog lovers but should appeal to most kids. 2005, Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf/Random House, and Ages 4 to 8.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this beautifully designed book, free-verse poems that present the inner musings of 16 dogs are combined with painterly, full-page portraits. The verses capture distinct canine personalities, such as a haughty Pekingese ("MEMO/To: My Person.../I feel terrible about chewing on your custom-made leather shoes. Though,/they were on the floor"); a loyal collie ("Through the dark night,/you need not be scared./For you, only you,/I will always be there"); and a brawny bulldog ("But you know, don't you? That/beneath this tough exterior there thumps a gentle heart"). Pencil sketches of the canines are scattered around the text. On the facing pages, Zakanitch's stunning oil paintings of the pets are set against shiny black backgrounds, with breed names hand lettered in white chalk. Animal lovers will delight in this captivating dog show.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Spectacular paintings on black backgrounds, a sleek design, and charmingly understated poems add up to blue-ribbon merit in this handsome poetic tribute to man's best friend. Sixteen unrhymed poems are perfectly paired with paintings of specific breeds (and one happy-go-lucky mutt), capturing each dog's attitude or special characteristics in a way that shows great empathy and understanding of the canine world. (In a departure from standard publishing practice, Gottfried wrote the poems to accompany the paintings rather than the reverse.) Each poem offers a distinctive canine voice, from a feisty Chihuahua to a faithful Collie, and many have tongue-in-check humor that will appeal to both children and adults. The volume's sophisticated design showcases each poem on a white background with additional line drawings of the chosen breed, facing a painted portrait of a single dog against a dramatic black background. Most of the portraits are straight-on views of the dog in an expressive pose, with the breed name casually lettered in white chalk in the background, resulting in a simple but memorable artistic composition. Dog lovers of all ages will find this collection an irresistible treat. (Poetry. 4-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307983510
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/27/2013
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,371,352
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

Maya Gottfried works in advertising and is a freelance writer. She lives in New York.
Robert Rahway Zakanitch is a fine artist who lives and works in New York City. He was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Grant, and his work is represented in many public collections, including The Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Zakanitch created the paintings for this book as an extension of his Aggressive Goodness Series of large-scale dog portraits whose unabashed purpose was to evoke the notion of goodness and to remind people of their aptitude for compassion. He lives in New York.
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