Book Review: Are You Blue Dog's Friend?

I’ve been a sucker for Blue Dog, a big-eared mutt with an flat yellow stare whose visage haunts the French Quarter, ever since my first trip to New Orleans. So Are You Blue Dog’s Friend? is a natural for our bookshelves.

The book showcases George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog paintings with a story in swirling text about the icons and buddies Rodrigue paints alongside his famous dog. Rodrigue is known to work with children’s hospitals and charities, and his love and affection for kids shows through in both this book and Why Is Blue Dog Blue?

He’s not afraid of using big words and concepts (Blue Dog’s friends are loyal; Blue Dog is blue because “artists don’t have to paint things the way they really are.”). And he pays delightful attention to font and word placement, making the text pages almost as colorfully engrossing as the art. The text itself is cheerful and pleasant to read, but it’s the chance to pour over the accessible paintings, shadowless but dark and thick with color, that makes this book worth repeated words.

—KJ Dell'Antonia

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