Work Title: Happy Birthday Coco
Work Author(s): Oneones
Color illustrations, 56 pages, Hardcover $12.95
Children's Picture Book
Reviewer: Anna Stewart
Dog lovers all over the world feel the same way this Japanese trio of authors and illustrators do about Coco. She is more than a companion; she is a member of the family.
Coco is a charming female wirehair fox terrier. Affectionately told from her owner's perspective, this story delicately illustrates her first year of life. Originally published in Japan, the book presents illustrations with a simple symmetry and lots of white space. The classic terrier brown circles around Coco's eyes contrast with her white-and-gray fur. This adds a needed distinction, especially when she is the only element on a page. The backgrounds are very simple: a bare table with two chairs, a swath of brown ground, or Coco with other dogs, cats, or birds with no ground beneath them. The repetition of a single tree, shown in each season, on an unadorned park-scape, shows the year passing.
The story is written in a subtle voice: Coco wakes and stretches, catches a tennis ball, ignores a much larger dog on her walk, and tries to play with a flock of birds. From her first days as a puppy when she cried at night and chewed the table legs, until her first birthday, Coco's life is seen one day at a time.One day, Coco's tennis ball rolls to a "very big dog" and he rolls...