You don’t have to be a dog person to enjoy Please Take Me for a Walk, but it can’t hurt. Author-illustrator Susan Gal begins her second picture book with lively end pages that invite the reader into the fascinating social life of dogs as they mix and mingle. From there we follow one perky pup into the body of the book, where he turns and eagerly solicits the reader, “Will you please take me for a walk?” With his bright eyes and playful expression, this little dog is extremely persuasive as he enumerates the enticing possibilities of a walk.
Using fresh illustrations in a layered blend of computer collage and charcoal on paper, Gal creates a welcoming world filled with a captivating variety of dogs and their colorful human counterparts. She enhances the sense of hustle and bustle by superimposing dotted lines tracing the trails of the busy pets across a grass-green map. The abundant activity in the friendly village warrants repeated exploration by children, and though this book is wonderful as a read-aloud, the clear picture clues, spare text and repetition make it a nice choice for beginning readers as well. Perhaps they will recognize the need to plead.
Meanwhile, our persistent protagonist reiterates his one-on-one appeal. Even if you’re not swayed by the promise of the wind lifting your ears or the sun warming your belly, he’s bound to clinch the deal with his final flattering request. Flashing those adoring eyes, he delivers the zinger by revealing that the most compelling reason to go for a walk is, and I quote, “so everyone can see my best friend and me.” Were you wondering who was on the end of the leash that trails tantalizingly off the page? Pick up this book, and it could be YOU!