A girl and her dog decide to swap places for the day. She stays at home and naps and plays all morning. The dog goes to school and paints and learns with his classmates. Everything goes well, until it’s time to eat. The girl doesn’t like the smell or taste of dog food and the dog doesn’t want people food. If that wasn’t bad enough, they both have to go to the bathroom. Will the girl go outside in the bushes? Will the dog use the toilet? Or will this be their breaking point?
A child and pet enjoy trading lives for a day, until nature calls and accommodations are needed. Alphie, a human child with pale skin and black hair, and Nini, a brown dog with pointed ears, are best friends. Sometimes, they “are jealous of each other’s life,” so one day they decide to swap. The morning goes well, with Alphie sleeping ’til noon in Nini’s dog bed and Nini attending school. The afternoon is fun; Alphie swims, plays Frisbee, and hides Daddy’s toupee while Nini listens to the teacher, makes art, and plays with (human) classmates. When it’s time to eat, though, the fun slows down; Alphie doesn’t like the taste of Nini’s bones, and Nini refuses Alphie’s vegetables. But they don’t give up until they really can’t go—the grass is no match for a bathroom, and vice versa. Liao’s brightly colored illustrations crackle with movement, child-friendly energy, and expression. The loose, casual application of paint matches the text’s breezy authority. The fact that the other characters aren’t fazed by a dog in school and at the table only adds to the hilarity of the swap. This perfectly paced, funny read uses only a touch of potty humor to cap off a sweet story of friendship, curiosity, and indulgence, ending with gratitude for something many of us take for granted. Caregivers won’t mind children rereading this silly book. This humorous tale may become a dog lover’s favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)