Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School

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Book Cover: Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School
Part of the Two Dogs in a Trench Coat series:

 

Little dog Waldo and big dog Sassy are the best at what they do. They keep out squirrels and imminent intruders. They make sure there are no stray meatballs or muffin crumbs in the kitchen. And most of all, they protect their boy, Stewart. But something is wrong. Every day Stewart trudges off to an awful place called school. The dogs know it's awful because Stewart's parents ask him what he does at school, and he says, "Nothing." And he smells like a weird mixture of boredom and anxiety. They have to save him! Plus maybe there's an evil overlord! Or a squirrel!

Waldo and Sassy hatch a plan to save Stewart by disguising themselves as a human. They can be a new student! Have they figured out any other aspect of their plan? Nope. They'll just figure it out as they go along. That's sure to work. But they find out that being a human student isn't quite what they imagined. There's gym (frisbee!), music (singing!), an alleged bully, and a teacher who is deeply suspicious of this new student. And best of all, they get lunch.

This book kicks off the "Two Dogs in a Trench Coat" series. Be sure to read to learn if Waldo and Sassy can save Stewart from the evil overlord, if they can use their sad puppy eyes to get more than one lunch, and if they can get all the humans to think they're good dogs without actually revealing the fact that they are, you know, dogs. Start reading here!

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Publisher: Scholastic
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Reviews:John Peters on Booklist (starred review) wrote:

Proud of their success in keeping the neighborhood squirrels at bay, house dogs Sassy and Waldo fixate on a new mission: rescuing their boy, Stewart, from the mysterious “school” to which he drags himself each day. With plenty of comical reinforcement from Jack’s freewheeling sketches, Falatko spins this promising premise into a hilarious romp—as, contrary to their expectations, the titular disguised pooches find that “school” is a nonstop round of astonishing new discoveries enhanced by exciting servings of meat (all food words throughout are in boldface) every lunchtime. Recognized by Stewart but none of the blithely oblivious grown-ups, new student “Salty Woofadogington” not only goes on to score triumphs in music class and PE’s ultimate frisbee, but helps to crank up Stewart’s lame oral report on squirrels into a truly epic class presentation. From Waldo’s introduction (as “a small and scruffy dog who smelled like kibble plus something else he’d rather not discuss”) on, the author fills the narrative with doggy gags, and trots in a tasty supporting cast that ranges from Stewart’s carefree working parents to “Bax the bully,” a wisecracking supposed nemesis who—his actual name being Bax Thabully—becomes a solid friend. “You’re such good dogs,” Stewart burbles at the end, admitting that his whole attitude toward school has been turned around. Few readers will disagree.

on Kirkus Reviews:

Giggle-inducing shenanigans ensue when two loyal dogs hatch a plan to save their human boy from school.

Waldo loves food, Sassy loves naps, and they both love Stewart and want to rescue him from that horrible, boring place called school, which makes Stewart smell like “a weird mixture of boredom and anxiety.” The intrepid pooches commence with an operation they code name Pepperoni. Under the titular trench coat, they disguise themselves as a human to infiltrate Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School. Bulldog Sassy forms the bottom half, while terrier Waldo, who can speak Human, stands on her shoulders. As new student Salty Woofadogington from Liver, Ohio, the dogs discover that school is great: They get to eat sloppy Joes, play Frisbee, and sing (read: howl) in music class. They fool everyone except Stewart, who’s lucky Waldo and Sassy love school; he doesn’t even have a topic for a project that’s due tomorrow. Waldo and Sassy fly into action. They have the perfect subject: squirrels—dogs are squirrel experts, after all. The boisterous third-person narration plays with typography: All the dogs’ favorite foods (just about every possible comestible, including carrots) are in bold text, while Waldo’s dialogue as Salty is in a faux typewritten face. The tale is further enlivened by the cartoonish black-and-white illustrations, which depict Stewart with paper-white skin, but some secondary characters have dark skin, notably Salty’s teacher, Ms. Twohey, who is not entirely convinced by her new student.

For readers who appreciate the goofy.

Tim Wadham on School Library Journal wrote:

The title pretty much says it all. Two dogs, Waldo and Sassy, do in fact stand on top of each other, put on a trench coat, and impersonate a new student so that they can save their owner Stewart from the horrible place known as school. They can’t understand why he escapes from them every morning and goes to a place where he does “nothing” all day. At Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School and Learning Commons, everyone but Stewart thinks that “Salty from Liver, Ohio” is a new transfer student. Readers will likely suspend disbelief for scene after scene of silliness as the dogs come to enjoy school and save Stewart’s science presentation. The book’s slapstick humor and gags play largely on the dog’s superior sense of smell, love of meat products, and obsession with squirrels. The design and typography will be appealing to reluctant readers—food words are in bold, and when the dogs speak, their words are italicized. VERDICT A goofy offering for readers who like over-the-top fare.