Dog in Charge by K.L. Going, illustrated by Dan Santat
Rating: 4.5 stars
At first, I thought this was going to be a book for anti-cat dog lovers like myself. Chalk up another point for the dogs, please! But, in the end, the book's focus on teamwork and taking responsibility for your mess are much better ones for kids (oh, and me--I can always use the reminder).
After being praised for being the best dog in the world, Dog's people leave to go to the store. "You're in charge," they tell him. "Watch the cats, and make sure they don't get in any mischief."
(Enter Ben's question: "What's mischief mean, Mommy?" Glad you asked! The stuff you get into all the time! Ha. Such a good vocabulary word for little guys. Oh and girls, too.)
Dog is pretty clueless about discipline; the cats get into a LOT of mischief and the whole house is a mess within minutes. He is completely distraught and thinks he'll try to bribe them to be good cats by getting treats for them. But the treats smell so tasty he can't help but eat one. Maybe two. Okay, just three! Oh no he ate the whole bag! He wants to fix everything but "his eyes grew heavy and his paw was soft." (That's my favorite line in the book, but there are a lot of good lines.)
While he sleeps, the cats take pity on him and clean up everything. After all, they love Dog. Dog wakes when his family comes home. He is immediately distraught, then fearful and finally VERY confused when they tell him "Good dog!" and give him treats. Dog looks back at the pack of sleeping cats and thinks: "Good cats. Smart cats. The very best cats."
Very cute book. Really well written. And a great message. I think you'll like it. Even if you are, like me, someone who only really cheers for the dogs in books.