Hey there, People in the Ether,
Peter Bently's canine precursor to "Cats Ahoy!" is the tale of "The Great Dog Bottom Swap", endearingly illustrated by Mei Matsuoka.
The story is simple but clever. We start out at the great doggy social mixer of the year, where the chow includes dog-biscuit stew and slippers and the entertainment ranges from a magic show to stand-up. But disaster soon ensues as some over-enthusiastic doggy dancing leads to a fiery situation and an evacuation of the grand hall. This means that things are scattered, possessions are jumbled and incorrect essentials are taken home - leading to a somehow gross-and-charming explanation for classic canine behaviour. I squealed with delight and shock on the first read. Some might have heard a similar folklore explanation, but surely nobody could resent this wry retelling.
Bently sets his pace beautifully, with a lovely rhyming narrative and hilarious plotting. The little asides and doggy details are joyous, and until the inferno the party sounds very appealing - what pup wouldn't want an invite?
Mei Matsuoka's illustrations are energetic and charismatic. There's a great sense of fun and movement, and wry anatomical representation! I loved the leg-cocking scene the most, I think.
Fun, silly, suitably rude and very witty, this is a great tale to amuse naughty kids and outrage prim and proper ones - grins all round!
Thanks for reading,