Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Help Me, Mr. Mutt!

Stevens, Janet and Susan Stevens Crummel. 2008. Help Me, Mr. Mutt! Expert Answers for Dogs with People Problems. Orlando: Harcourt.

In the same vein as Dr. Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School, Help Mr, Mr. Mutt! is hilarious and deserving of an older audience. Mr. Mutt has a humorous advice column for dogs with "people problems." The dog whose owner dresses him up complains,

"Dear Mr. Mutt,
It's ridiculous!Outrageous!Preposterous!Holidays are unbearable. First I'm a baby, next I'm a bunny, then I'm a bride, now I'm an angel....Where is my dignity?.....
--Overdressed in Oklahoma
P.S. My people never dress up the cantankerous cat!"

Mr. Mutt offers humorous advice to each writer and adds a "dig" at cats in each reply. The cat, known as The Queen, responds indignantly to each letter.

The illustrations alternate between depictions of letters from distressed pooches, answers on the official letterhead of Mr. Mutt, Canine Counselor, and irate responses from The Queen on her regal pink stationary, The Queen Speaks. Graphs, charts, "photos," and scenes from Mr. Mutt's studio will keep readers in stitches. The story ends with newspaper accounts, "DOGS INVADE DOGWOOD!" and "CATastrophe!"

This book is funny on many levels and deserves a second, third and even a fourth look. The dust jacket offers a list of things to look for in the book, including numeric palindromes, actual dog hair, and paper clips. Now I'm going to have to read it again!

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