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How to Be a Good Dog
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How to Be a Good Dog

by Gail Page

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"The character of the dog is just delicious. The colors are magnificent. It's completely lovable." -Daniel Pinkwater, National Public Radio,Weekend Edition
"Bobo, the great galumphing hound, is the canine Oscar Madison. . . . Pale and plump with a single black spot, Bobo has a Thurber-esque squishiness in Page's cartoonlike acrylics. His eyes are never more


"The character of the dog is just delicious. The colors are magnificent. It's completely lovable." -Daniel Pinkwater, National Public Radio,Weekend Edition
"Bobo, the great galumphing hound, is the canine Oscar Madison. . . . Pale and plump with a single black spot, Bobo has a Thurber-esque squishiness in Page's cartoonlike acrylics. His eyes are never more than two tiny dots,but they're endlessly expressive." -New York Times Book Review
"This lively tale of a good-hearted canine and his kindly cat friend gets its charm from its bold and colorful illustrations. . . . But it is the story, told in plain, simple, unembellished words that any child can understand that grabs your heart and won't let go." -Curledup.com

Editorial Reviews

We were utterly charmed by Bobo, the lovable, etiquette-challenged pooch in Gail Page's winsome picture book How to Be a Good Dog. The epitome of good intentions, this floppy, Thurber-esque hound desperately wants to behave. But doggone it, being good all the time is hard work! After his overexuberance lands him in the doghouse, Bobo gets some unexpected obedience training from his friend Cat -- although they don't quite agree on the proper execution of "heel," "sit," or "lie down." Small children who sometimes feel overwhelmed by too many rules will love this delightful story about the importance of putting your best foot forward.
Publishers Weekly
In this variation on the old feline/canine rivalry, Cat secretly works with Bobo the dog to refine his slovenly habits. Bobo belongs to Mrs. Birdhead, whose nest-like hat and its purple-feathered occupant balance primly on her auburn pageboy 'do. Bobo seems half-pet, half-person: he walks upright, tracks food all over the floor and chews on a book labeled "homework" (although there are no children present). His buffoonery lands him in the doghouse, where he mopes until Mrs. Birdhead goes shopping, and Cat surreptitiously trains him. Their "fetch" lesson goes awry when Cat throws a ball into the house, but "heel turn[s] out to be very handy" when Cat boosts Bobo through the window to retrieve the ball. Indoors, Bobo does yoga "sit" postures and practices "lie down" in bed. What Bobo lacks in manners, he makes up for in enthusiasm, and before Mrs. Birdhead can banish him again, Bobo struts his new stuff and wins a reprieve. Page's debut closely resembles Pinkwater's "bad bears" picture books in its pratfalls and amateurish visuals. In the mushy acrylic images, Bobo appears to be formed from a lump of grayish-white clay. His malleable, clumsily shaped body stretches to emphasize his clown-plus-canine qualities, and he lends gusto to the otherwise lukewarm custard-colored pages. Ages 3-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Bobo tries to be a good dog so he can get treats from Mrs. Birdhead. But certain naughty activities, not in the text but in the illustrations, lead to his being sent out to the doghouse. There he is so lonely he even misses Cat who, to her surprise, misses him as well. After consulting a Good Dog book, Cat gives Bobo lessons on how to "shake," "fetch," "heel," etc. The lessons somehow end with Bobo in the house again, lying down and "stay"-ing, at least until Mrs. Birdhead returns with the groceries. Then, despite all the training, there is no restraining Bobo as he rushes to demonstrate his new learning, ending with a disastrous crash in the kitchen. Fortunately, when he does get the chance to go through his paces, she is impressed enough to let the "good dog" stay inside. The humor-filled loosely painted acrylic illustrations tell a far more elaborate tale than the minimal text. Bobo is a very large white dog whose anthropomorphic behavior tends toward the frenetic. The double page description of his "bad" behavior is visualized in six vignettes, each more comic than the last. The four vignettes showing him practicing "sit," and the three that show him messing with "lie down" are a delight. Cat's attempts to teach him make a fine contrast. Note that Mrs. Birdhead really has a bird on her head!
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Bobo is a big white dog who "tried hard to be a good." He loves to hear his owner praise him, and he anticipates the tasty treat that follows. Unfortunately, he also reads with his feet on the table, makes a mess while eating on the sofa, and leaves paw prints all over the house, so he is sent outside to the doghouse. To work his way back inside, he takes lessons from the cat on how to "shake," "fetch," and "heel." When Mrs. Birdhead returns from grocery shopping, Bobo, excited to show her his tricks, bounds down the stairs, sending groceries flying. The angular lines of Cat and Mrs. Birdhead are contrasted with Bobo's soft roundness, while pastel hues dominate. The large acrylic paintings with cartoon figures and the simple text make this a good choice to share with groups of young children.-DeAnn Okamura, San Anselmo Public Library, CA PECK, Jan. Way Far Away on a Wild Safari. illus. by Valeria Petrone. unpaged. S & S. June 2006. RTE $15.95. ISBN 1-4169-0072-1. LC number unavailable. PreS-K-Following on the heels of Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea (2004) and Way Up High in a Tall Green Tree (2005, both S & S), Peck and Petrone feature a pith-helmeted boy visiting the animals of the African savannah. Each spread focuses on one animal with six rhythmic, patterned lines of text featuring an action the creature is taking (sloshing, spying, roaring, zigzagging, etc). In the end, the animals are revealed to be cookies baked by Grandma. The full-color illustrations are digitally rendered in bold lines and bright colors. Although there is little dramatic action, readers looking for books with a safari theme or for African animals will find adventure enough in the cozy cadences of these vignettes.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bobo is a large, white dog with a big, black nose who lives a pampered life alongside his fellow pet, a well-behaved cat who wears a proper apron when washing dishes. Their owner, Mrs. Birdhead (who inexplicably wears a nesting bird strapped to her head) has failed to train her dog in the rudiments of indoor behavior. When Bobo continually misbehaves, he is banished to the backyard, and the cat attempts to end their unhappy separation by giving Bobo obedience lessons. The standard obedience school commands are interpreted with amusing results, as Bobo's idea of "sit" is lounging in a comfy chair and "heel" means literally kicking up his heels. Children will enjoy the humorous sight of Bobo in his pajamas practicing "lie down" and "roll over" in his own four-poster bed, as the cat reads instructions from a dog-obedience guidebook. The quirky humor in the brief text is matched by the funny antics of the floppy canine in the illustrations as he tries to be a good dog, but always in his own way. (Picture book. 3-5)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.04(w) x 11.07(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Gail Page is a fine artist and textile designer whose work has been exhibited in shows and galleries throughout the country. This is her first picture book, based loosely on her own mostly good dog, Gimpel. Gail lives in Brooksville, Maine.

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