CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 24. . . .March 3, 2017
Tails Don’t Lie 2: A Pack of Dog Cartoons.
Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2017.
127 pp., trade pbk. & html, $12.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-155017-599-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-155017-599-8 (html).
Dogs-Caricatures and cartoons.
Canadian wit and humor, Pictorial.
Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.
In his “Introduction” to this new collection of dog-based cartoons, Raeside explains: “Tails Don’t Lie 2 features the philosophical, ditch-wading, farting, shedding, bed-hogging, hairy scroungers who inhabit my [The] Other Coast comic strip. They reveal why dogs covet the driver’s seat, what would happen if dogs went on space missions (do aliens have dogs?), the humiliation of tail-docking, if purebreads are really canine snobs, the immense importance of trees to a dog, and ask the eternal question: why isn’t squirrel-chasing included in dog agility courses?”
As occurred in the original collection, Tails Don’t Lie: A Decade of Dog Cartoons, cartoon versions of two of Raeside’s former dogs, Sakura, a Papillon, and Koko, a Border Collie (mixed with some other breeds, evidently), feature in a great many of the book’s 340 cartoons. Most pages contain three full-colour cartoons, with the humour in each cartoon being revealed in one to four panels. Occasionally, a page will have two six-panel cartoons that are used to tell a longer funny “story”. (Think daily newspaper strip vs. longer weekend cartoon strip.) Raeside occasionally has the dog-related humour being narrated from the perspective of a human, but the punch line (often visual) is always dog-centric. An example can be seen in a one-panel cartoon in which one woman brags to another: “I only buy expensive premium dog food for Max. I’m very particular about his diet.” Meanwhile, readers see her “pampered” Max devouring the contents of a tipped over garbage can. Raeside has also stayed with the “technological” times, and dogs are now on doggy dating sites, fetching the “morning” laptop instead of the daily newspaper, and being ignored by their cell phone focussed owners.
The contents of Raeside’s cartoons reveal that he is definitely an excellent observer of dog behaviour, but the cartoons also show his ability to view the world (especially humans) through canine eyes. While still maintaining a sense of humour, Raeside occasionally uses his art to comment on some of the negative treatment of dogs, including their abandonment (and the positive flip side, animal shelters and adoption), puppy mills, being left in locked cars in the summer, non-exercise and tail docking. An example of Raeside’s subtle chiding can be found in a three panel strip in which two dogs, Koko and Eddie, meet. When Koko comments that Eddie doesn’t seem pleased to meet him, Eddie responds that he really is happy to see him but that Koko had failed to see his wagging stump. Amusing, yes, but the cartoon might cause some readers to pause and consider the wider impact of this cosmetic procedure that is foisted on some dog breeds.
In public libraries, newspaper cartoon collections are usually shelved in the adult collection while school libraries, with their limited budget and curriculum focus, often simply won’t purchase them. But dogs (and other pets) are vital parts of children’s lives and development. A sense of responsibility and caring, experiencing unconditional love and a one-way sharing of secrets, plus experiencing and dealing with (often first) grief are just some of the benefits a child receives from having a pet. Consequently, from time to time, public libraries should temporarily move some of their cartoon books to the children’s/YA sections while school libraries would benefit by loosening the curriculum purse strings and providing some humour and life connections via books like Tails Don’t Lie 2: A Pack of Dog Cartoons.
Sadly, Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, now a Winnipeg, MB, condo dweller, has to be dogless.
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