Confession: I did enjoy the first two books in Julie Falatko’s Two Dogs in a Trench Coat series. However, It made a snappy headline and number three (Cybils Nominee) TWO DOGS IN A TRENCH COAT GO ON A CLASS TRIP was my favorite.
The series premise is simple: Waldo and Sassy didn’t want to be away from their boy Stewart all day, so Waldo stood on top of Sassy’s shoulders, they put on a trenchcoat, and presented themselves as a human boy named Salty from Livermore, OH.
The adults around them are mega-dumb, often to the point of hilarity, so it works.
A lot of the humor is based on stereotypes about dogs – their loyalty-that-veers-on-possessiveness of their boy Stewart; their tendency to mis-hear everything as being related to food or dog toys (all food references are in bold text and a wacky font); their endless appetites; their boundless enthusiasm for the mundane and affection for everyone they run across.
This time a class trip to the City Museum is appealing because – duh!- field trips come with lunch.
From chewing on spaceboots, to getting hungry in the presence of dinosaur bones (only the triceratops is left alone) to leading authorized tours of the museum, Waldo and Sassy’s enthusiasm is contagious.
Kind of the recurring storyline is that somehow, Waldo, Sassy and Stewart (assisted by his diverse classmates, illustrated by Colin Jack) always teach the adults around them to be better people. This time, the lesson was not to make assumptions or label other people, as you may miss out on making a new friend. However, the moral is so couched in wacky humor it’s not at all didactic.
This is a book you can read out of series order. Some of my favorite series, you must read in order, but to a kid potentially relying in the library for copies, this is a plus.
I’m a big-time cat person (got my start in Cross Country due to running from my neighbors’ hostile, unleashed Rottweilers) and I love Waldo and Sassy. So there’s that. 😊
TWO DOGS IN A TRENCH COAT GO ON A CLASS TRIP is out now from Scholastic Press.