Nov 12, 2011

No Dogs Allowed

No Dogs Allowed! by Linda Ashman
Illustrated by Kristin Sorra

     Alberto's City Lights Restaurant is open.  It's in a town square, across from a fountain. It has indoor seating and outdoor tables.  There is a blackboard easel with the word 'Welcome!' handwritten on it.  As Alberto gets ready to welcome diners, he notices a boy with his dog approaching. Uh, oh. He rushes to the easel, erases "Welcome!" and quickly writes "No Dogs Allowed" instead.  The boy turns around and sits heartbroken by the fountain. Just then, a girl approaches the restaurant with a cat. So Alberto adds, "No Dogs or Cats Allowed" to the sign.  As other townspeople come buy with different animals (a magician with rabbit, kids with a kangaroo, a man with parrots, a family with an iguana, even a boy with an elephant), Alberto keeps having to add new clarifying phrases to keep them all out of his restaurant. He's been so busy keeping animals out, that he's managed to ignore the one patron who's desperately trying to order his food.  Meanwhile all the rejected diners and their pets have remained in the square and are having a great time together.  That is, until the lemonade stand that's been serving them all, runs out. Will Alberto come to their help?
     No Dogs Allowed! is a delicious almost-wordless book.  The sense of joy and community is palpable in the images of the town coming together in the square.  Its cast of characters and all the unbelievable pets, adds a degree of hilarity to the story. The illustrations by Sorra are wonderfully detailed and beautiful.  Great book to "read" over and over. It can also be used in the classroom, having the students create dialogue for the myriad of characters or write the complete story.  Delightful.

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