I think pugs are pretty awesome because they are clearly big dogs trapped in little dogs’ bodies. Everything about a pug says “sassy.” The dog who is Zorro, could have been any kind of dog, but I think it is just right that he is a pug. I really liked the first book featuring these characters, Say Hello to Zorro. It definitely had a high “Awwww!” factor for me, but I think that in Zorro Gets an Outfit, Carter Goodrich does an even better job of capturing the doggy point of view.
Now, show me a dog owner who hasn’t at least considered dressing his/her dog up in an adorable and humiliating costume. C’mon folks, hands up. I’ve done it. Not embarrassed to admit it. On various Halloweens gone by, we had “Swimmer Malcolm,” “Elvis Malcolm,” and a favourite, “Malibu Malcolm.” So I know exactly what this kind of dog shame looks like.
Zorro gets a costume, or as his owner calls it, an “outfit.” He is not happy. He gets teased by all the other dogs on the way to the park. Mister Bud tries to cheer him up, but nothing works until a new dog shows up. A fast, cool, tricksy dog who also happens to be wearing an outfit. This changes everything.
This picture book is an example of how so much story can exist with minimal text, provided that the illustrations are evocative. It’s wonderful how the different personalities of the dogs comes through just by their posture, facial expressions, eyes, and ear positions. Goodrich knows dogs. (You can see a lot of the best pictures from the story on his website). The spread of the three dogs racing head on towards you is perfect. It’s pure doggy joy conveyed through illustration. This is a completely feel-good book that makes you want to read more little adventures featuring this quirky crew. It also kinda makes you want a pug super-dog of your own, and sadly for hounds everywhere, it only encourages most dog owners’ proclivities for dressing up Fido. Five bones out of five.
Zorro Gets an Outfit is published by Simon and Schuster.