I love dogs and cats (I have one of each), so youíd assume that Iíd love this book. But I donít. This slim volume of dog and cat humour, written and illustrated by
Ron Robinson, does have its high points, but unfortunately theyíre not enough. Robinson is bang-on in his descriptions of the differences between dogs and cats, or, as he puts it, Saturnians versus Plutonians. The book starts off with a satirical comparison of dog versus cat, a sly wink and a nod to John Grayís Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus series. Robinson begins with an historical (hysterical) background of Saturnians and Plutonians. Sections on communication, self-esteem, and philosophy are punchy, concise and full of mirth. At times the pace lags and the jokes donít work but the delivery is rapid fire, so you donít notice it too much.
Not, that is, until Robinson gets bogged down with cats and dogs in literature and then digs himself a deeper hole with long passages on Shakespeare. The MacBeth reference of ďOut out damn SpotĒ is given as an example of a dogís first pivotal role in a Shakespearean play. Itís an old joke that works, but Robinson wanders off track with ten pages of Shakespearean quotes (No, no, bad dog!) and the rhythm of the previous chapters are broken. The short witty observations
are replaced by what I would describe as notes from an Advanced English Literature
class (Robinson is, for the record, a former Professor of Journalism at a small Midwestern liberal arts
But letís focus on what does work. (Good boy!) The chapter entitled
"Recreation" is written as if it were a legal contract between a dog and its owner, for example:
ď1. That THE DOG will submit to the leash and collar if allowed at least eight (8) times during THE WALK to stop and peruse a sapling or a random clump of grass for a period of no less then three (3) minutes each for signs of life that may be related or in some way of interest to THE DOG.Ē
Robinson peppers the book with some old groaners of dog/cat quotes that fit perfectly with the overall tongue-in-cheek narrative. Robinsonís conversational tone works well, especially the
in question-and-answer chapter at the end of the book. The drawings are charming, especially the one in the
"Bad Behaviour" chapter where little Pedro has attached himself to the visiting
ministerís leg. However, the bitter tone used in the conclusion seems out of place and
leaves the reader feeling disappointed, as though a friend I had come to know in the beginning of the book had turned on me. (Down boy!)
To whom would I recommend this book? This is definitely for pet owners only. Anyone else will wonder why we (pet owners) put ourselves through such mental, physical, and emotional torture at the paws of those furry little dictators. It would make a good stocking stuffer for the pet lover in your life. I give this puppy a
two out of five.