Monday, April 19, 2010

Name That Dog! Puppy Poems from A to Z

By Peggy Archer, illustrated by Stephanie Buscema

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010

$16.99, ages 3-5, 32 pages

Stuck for a name for your little pooch? Listen to all of the silly things these puppies do and you might be inspired too.

In this snappy A-Z of dog names, Archer celebrates the lovable quirks of 26 breeds and shows how, if given a little leeway, dogs will almost name themselves.

The title of each poem is a name that reflects the look or character of the breed, or something funny that happens to the dog.

There's the yellow Lab "Aspen," who is the color of golden marmalade and plays in aspen leaves, the Bulldog "Jingles" who has so many dog tags you always know he's near and the Schnauzer "Whiskers" who has beads of dog food strung on his whiskers.

Some dogs are named for their mischief, like the Field Spaniel "Chewy," who devours slippers, the Mini Pinscher "Houdini" who's always gets loose and the Boston Terrier "Bandit," whose eyes, circled in black, pilfers everything in sight.

"…He sneaks around from room to room / a bandit in disguise. / Stealing socks and slippers, / baseball caps and soap, / garden gloves and wooden spoons, / keys and jumping rope."

"So if there's something missing, / like a book or cowboy boot, / just take a look by Bandit's bed -- that's where he keeps his loot."

Other dogs are named for the day they were born, the sounds they make or the things they can't resist doing.

Take the Dalmatian "Daisy": "She runs through Mother's petunias. / She thinks the pansies are fun. / Then she gets a bit lazy / and lies in the daisies / And quietly naps in the sun."

Every poem is matched with a playful picture of the dog caught in the act of being themselves, like the Boykin spaniel YoYo, leaping up and down among three of the spiraling toys.

"He's a Roller Coaster falling. / He's a Rocket in the Sky. / He's up and down, he's Stop and Go, / like a yoyo whizzing by!"

Clever bit: The idea of a book of names for puppies is hilarious. If only humans had such a fun guide to name their babies.

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