CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 29 . . . . April 1, 2011
So begins the rainy day doings of a bored and badly behaved dog. Wellington, after a satisfying slurp from the toilet, manages to knock down the meatloaf, devour every last "gorgeous, every last worgeous, every last squorgeous bite"and bury the empty pan in the cat's litterbox. Still bored and hungry, he finds the garbage bin:
In doggy delight, he devours it all with the inevitable result.
All is lost; the kitchen, and poor Honey the cat, are awash in upchuck. What happens next is not for the squeamish but disgustingly true to the canine nature. Suffice to say that when master Horace shuffles into the kitchen to take Welly for his walk, all is in order. Back from their walk, the master mistakenly concludes that Honey is responsible for the missing meatloaf. Should Wellington feel guilty?
Not a chance, he thinks, as he remembers all the suppers he had missed because of that tricky cat!
Readers will not be surprised at the high level of gross-out they will encounter in Wellington's Rainy Day, Carolyn Beck's fourth picture book, if they recall the subjects of two earlier books (nose-picking in Richard Was a Picker and a postman-eating pup in The Waiting Dog). Fortunately for the readers, Brooke Kerrigan's soft-coloured illustrations help to mitigate the stomach-turning details of the story. The artist's depiction of the long-eared canine and his feline arch rival, Honey, are quite irresistible, and her detailed pastel pieces perfectly capture the humour and the irony of Beck's story.
Perhaps a variation of the warning sticker that appeared on the jacket of The Waiting Dog (WARNING: do you have the guts to read this book?) might be in order. An adult reader, dealing with her own gag reflex would then be prepared for the chorus of "Ooh...gross!!" that she will inevitably encounter. That warning aside, Wellington's Rainy Day should provide noisy enjoyment for the 4 to 8-year-old set. Grown-ups may be excused for wondering whether Beck is planning to exceed this latest level of yuckiness in her next picture book.
Valerie Nielsen, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is a retired teacher-librarian.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.