Friday, August 18, 2006

Review: Happy Birthday, Coco

I have to say upfront, before beginning this review, that I am not a dog person. That's right, I'm one of those two curmudgeonly people on the planet who does not like or appreciate dogs.

That being said, I really, really liked Happy Birthday, Coco--a beautiful picture book written in honor of a spirited dog named Coco.

"Today is Coco's birthday. Today, Coco is one year old. Coco's day begins like any other day. 'Good morning, Coco. Is it time for a walk?'" Coco's birthday is, in fact, like most of his days. Full of walks, sunshine, friends and good food.

It's a simple story, but what's really spectacular about Happy Birthday, Coco are the illustrations and the production value. This is one gorgeous book. Authored by oneones ("Hitomi Sago, a graphic designer, Tatsuro Kiuchi, an illustrator, and Shoko Nagamatsu, a copy writer"), the illustrations are works of art. Beautiful watercolors with added detail (a checked, transparent inlay for a tennis net, cutout pages) make Happy Birthday, Coco come alive. Kudos to Kane/Miller for this beautifully produced book.

I highly recommend Happy Birthday, Coco to children ages four-eight and to dog lovers of all ages.