So many books. So little time.
Have you ever been left in charge of something, anything? Cats? dogs, babies, the home? Not an easy job, let me tell you. When the cat is away the mice will play. Imagine what happens when Dog is left in charge of not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE cats.
Dog is a sweetheart. A gentle soul. Dan Santat’s illustrations show us Dog in all his glory. “Dog had a busy afternoon”, says the first page. We see this huge mastiff, his size alone would scare away robbers, dressed in a tutu. A tutu! And a large, pink bow. He sits, stays, dances as his mistress asks. Dog is a pushover. And he is going to be in charge of five cats? Yikes.
Dog sees the humans leave, the cats properly lined up in a row. “First we will sit and then we will stay,” Dog thinks, expecting the cats to behave as he does. What? Five empty spots where the cats were? Dog’s seeking become a refrain, and a fun search-the-cat game for the reader.
"Or was there?"
Suddenly the pictures are filled with activity: cats running, jumping, hiding, dog chasing, searching, searching. He goes from kitchen to rooms to bathroom. No cat here, no cat there, no cat no cat anywhere, till cats jump out from their hiding places and skedaddle.
Oh oh. Disaster follows. Dog is tired. This taking charge is exhausting business. Will the family still love him and give him treats? Dog wonders.
There he is, stretched out across a two-page spread, thinking. IDEA. His ears perk up. Surely cats would come for the treats? the four panels on the next page show us what happens.
“Poor Dog!” Tired and sated he falls asleep. Time for the cats to appear. They love Dog, did not mean him any harm.
cats set the house in order again. The family returns to this perfect home with Dog in charge and the cats fast asleep.
“Good Dog! Smart Dog! The very best dog!".
“Good cats,” thought Dog. “Smart cats. The very best cats.” Only the reader knows the whole and complete truth!