Review Detail

Kids Fiction 196
The Picks of the Litter... Litter
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
In his picture book debut, illustrator Inoue tells a classic new sibling tale, but offers the fun twist of twin dog siblings. The unnamed dogs are quite spoiled, with endless walks, milk to drink, and plenty of attention. This ends when a small, wailing creature is introduced to their happy home. Suddenly, they are taking a stranger for walks, not getting their milk, and their parents are constantly exhausted. Beside themselves, the dogs decide that the best way to free themselves from this noisy creature is to mess up a room and pin the bad behavior on the newcomer. They try this, wreaking havoc in the nursery, but wake up the baby! So that they don't get caught, they try to pacify the howling infant by crawling into its crib and cuddling and licking it. Exhausted from their exploits, the dogs fall asleep with the baby and are found by the parents, who thank the dogs for taking care of the tiny human. Life improves as the dogs, the parents, and the babies forge a new life together.
Good Points
The Pantone colors of 2021 are Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow, and are used to good effect in this book, with some splashes of shades of green and red. This makes the black and white dogs (of indeterminate breed, but which reminded me of Ahn's Pug Pals a bit) really pop against the background. The simple lines on the dogs' faces are surprisingly expressive, and the cute factor is enhanced when the two do everything in tandem.

As a parent, I'm a little alarmed that the dogs were able to crawl into the crib with the baby; sure, they just licked him, but what else could they have done? Young readers will just find their new devotion to their former nemesis delightful, and will hopefully want to cuddle up with their own new sibling if this book is being read to them as a form of adaptive bibliotherapy.

It's been a while since I've read books about new siblings, so my only frame of reference is the Wilkins' Baby Dear, Mayer's The New Baby, and the Berenstains' New Baby, but I'm sure there are a raft of other titles. Wells even has MacDuff and the New Baby, about a dog welcoming an infant, and there are others about dogs welcoming other dogs, like Hill's Spot's Baby Sister.
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