The encroachment of picture story tellers (Roz Chast, Jules Feiffer, Allison Bechdel etc) into more wordy narratives (allow me to avoid the troublesome rubric ‘graphic novel’) has has yielded some wonderful books—most recently Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant. Now comes illustrator Mark Ulirkson with a sweet compendium of his astute observations about canines Dogs Rule Nonchalantly (Goff Books). As may be the case with many illustrators, Ulirkson’s name may not be familiar to you but as the creator of forty five New Yorker covers and a contributor of artwork to countless magazines and newspapers, his work (despite ties to traditional old media) should be recognizable. If it is not you are in the wrong place…
No matter, this sweet homage to our canine companions is the result of his mindful (I couldn’t help myself from using that word)observations of his interactions with the ten dogs from his own life. The book compiles his handwritten impressions along with his paintings of those dogs from over a 20 years period (the paintings, not the dogs). Cleverly, Ulrikson pegs his account of his doggy relationships to various key events in his own life and the various stages of the dog’s development— house-breaking a puppy, obedience classes, and the teary end stages of life with an aging canine.
Some spreads from Dogs Rule Nonchalantly
Currently reading A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler(Knopf)