By Wendy Ann Gardner
Four o’clock on the fifth floor, life for Ivan was such a bore. He had space to roam and run, but nothing that he thought was fun. Though his loft was nice and big, all he wanted to do was…dig.
I bought this book in the winter of 2004, while I was still pregnant with my son. In those days, our “baby” was an 85-lb. black Lab who was treated to gourmet biscuits, three hours of walks each day, and one-third of our bed. Oh, how children change everything. (I write that as my dog stares reproachfully at me from his now-favorite spot under my desk.) I found Ivan in a pet boutique in the West Village — almost certainly closed now — and presented it to my husband for Valentine’s Day. The titular Ivan is a pug with a digging problem who lives in a loft in TriBeCa. One day, he digs so much that he goes Right. Through. The. Door. The rhyming text is unforgettable (no, really) and the minimalist illustrations — especially of Ivan’s teeth — fetching. (Pun sort of intended.) Both my kids agree — so much so that my husband and I not only have the book memorized, but have a standard set of sound effects we include, as well.