You know the feeling you have when you look at a book and you’re sure that you’re going to love the story? That’s what happened to me when I saw Say Hello to Zorro, written and illustrated by Carter Goodrich, the talented author, character designer (Ratatouille, anyone?) and New Yorker cover illustrator. The two dogs on the book’s cover—one, Mister Bud, nervously glancing at the other, Zorro, who is staring straight at the reader, daring her to flinch—just beg us to turn the page.

Mister Bud loves his life, but he especially loves his schedule: “1. Wake up time 2. Biscuit, then a walk time 3. Nap time 4. Shift-position-and-nap-some-more time 5. Wait and watch time 6. Greet and make a fuss time . . . 10. Movie, then bed time.” Every day is the same for this all-snout dog and that’s just the way he likes it.

But one day, at greet-and-make-a-fuss time, things change. A new dog, Zorro, is joining the family. Zorro, a Pug with fierce eyes, a curly tail and stubby legs, is ready to stake out his territory in the house. Mister Bud is not ready to concede defeat so easily and his first encounter with Zorro is one of name-calling and growling, leading to reluctant resignation. Soon the dogs realize that they do have something in common: the same schedule!

Goodrich’s affecting watercolors do these canines proud. Mister Bud, more nose than dog, and Zorro, his mouth edged with a black moustache, bound and sleep through these pages with true dog-like energy. The owner’s verbal contributions, in a light green handwritten typeface, float nearly unnoticed by the dogs and the reader, but serve to remind us all of the proper place of humans in the dogs’ schedule.

The pacing and humor of this charming picture book makes it an easy one to read over and over. This is a winner for dog lovers everywhere (and of any age) and I, for one, am hoping for a sequel.

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