Making an auspicious entry into children's books, Laden provides a stylish, droll answer to the riddle of what dogs do while their owners sleep. Her narrator is forced to revise his low opinion of the seemingly sedentary family pet ("I always thought he was a boring dog") after he spies the pooch alighting from a limousine early one morning, wearing a tuxedo. Tailing him that night, he discovers that the doghouse is in fact a well-appointed bachelor pad and his dog the owner of a spiffy canine nightclub, where dogs go to relax, get treats without having to lie down or play dead, and "talk about their problems with the mailman, or with the poodle next door." Skewed angles and perspectives and a mauve-and-midnight-blue palette ably capture the boy's disorientation, wonder and eventual admiration of his pet's jaunty after-hours persona. The art is at once broadly expressive and full of small, witty details (e.g., the limousine's vanity plate reads K-9). The visual playfulness extends even to the hand-lettered text, which is animated by such variations as inverted lettering for "roll over," chewed lettering for "hungry," and near-pictograms (the word "sit" rests on a chair). A salutary outing spun from a simple but rich idea. Ages 4-10.
PARENTS' CHOICE, 1994 Award Winner
This comedic gem concerns a garden-variety canine"nothing exotic or special"who spends his afterhours running a splendiferous nightclub for stressed-out fellow dogs. The author/artist's bold and mysterious full-paged pastels have a compelling nocturnal pizazz and her inviting, hand-lettered text encourages young listeners to supply key words on their own (witty graphic hints virtually guarantee success). This zany debut is cause for celebration.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, February 1995
"It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your dog is?" If not, join in this book's extraordinary suppositions. A young boy relates the events of "the night I fol1owed my dog." A dull pet by day, the pup dons a tuxedo and tie after dark, climbs into his limo (vanity plateK9), and goes to his club, The Doghouse. Bogart's got nothing on this pooch as he shows his young master, who has secretly tailed him, around the club. The crisp and colorful pastel drawings of the anthropomorphized clientele are amusing, but test of all is the frolicking text with several words per page decked out in appropriate illustrative (almost rebus) fashion. Sophisticated enough for older children and silly enough for younger listeners, this boy-and-his-dog book has a clever text, great illustrations, and strong appeal.
NEW YORK NEWSDAY
Another canine wonder is the mongrel from The Night I Followed the Dog, by Nina Laden. Daytime, he's got a perfectly normal doggie life, spent sleeping and hanging out around his food bowl. But after dark, to his human companion's astonishment, he dons a tux and hails a limo to The Doghouse, a downtown after-hours club. "See all the sofas? We can sit on the sofas here," says the dog. "We can get treats without having to lie down, roll over, or play dead. And if we want to chew on a shoe or chase our tail, no one will stop us. We have no masters here, no leashes and no rolled up newspapers. This? This is a place where dogs can be dogs." Laden's full-page pastel pictures are wonderful, and her big, handlettered text is a typographic delight.
This boy-and-his-dog book has a clever text, great illustrations, and strong appeal. School Library Journal
This zany debut is cause for celebration. Parents Choice, 1994 Award