Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Art Dog by Thacher Hurd

Copyright ©1996 by Thacher Hurd

Arthur Dog is employed as a guard at the Dogopolis Museum of Art.  The museum houses the works of such painters as, “Vincent Van Dog, Pablo Poodle, Henri Muttisse and Leonardo Dog Vinci.”  
Arthur is  mild-mannered and lives a quiet life, except when the moon is full.  During those nights, Arthur’s appearance and personality change.  Donning a mask and a beret and carrying a box containing paints and brushes, he creeps throughout the city as a graffiti artist.  With a splat of his tail, Arthur signs his murals, “Art Dog.” 

One day, a robbery occurs at the Dogopolis Museum.  The Mona Woofa, a priceless painting, is stolen. When the police arrive, they conduct a search of the outside perimeter.  It is a full moon, and Art Dog is found in the alley with his eyes glowing and fur glistening, paintbrush in paw. Unsurprisingly, he is suspected of committing the robbery and is arrested.
Jail, however, cannot hold the innocent Art Dog; he uses his paint brush to paint an open window where there are bars. He leaps out.

Now free, Art Dog needs transportation. He paints a “Brushmobile” which runs on paint instead of gas.  
Using his keen canine sense of smell, he searches for and locates the real culprits at an abandoned warehouse.  A scuffle occurs, but instead of using a weapon, Art Dog brandishes his paintbrush. “Paint! En garde! Touche!”  When the fighting ceases, the criminals are shown embedded in a piece of art. 
The police arrive, accompanied by the museum director.  The museum director, impressed with Art Dog’s  “Messterpiece”,  offers him a show at the Dogopolis Museum.  On the day of his show, Art Dog paints a masterpiece in the sky titled “City Rhapsody.”  Everyone in attendance is awed, but then suddenly Art Dog is gone leaving everyone, except the reader, wondering, “who was Art Dog?”

Art Dog is such a wonderfully playful story.  As an added bonus, it provides a great opportunity to introduce your kids to several famous artists. I found the true paintings on the internet and we enjoyed comparing them to the Dogopolis Museum’s versions.  As Chicago residents, we have access to the world-renowned Art Institute, and we always read Art Dog before we visit. Of course, it is also requested many times in between.


  1. Oh my gosh! We really are picture-book-soul mates! I have an autographed copy of ART DOG circa 1996/97! My daughter liked his Pea Patch Jig books so much we went to see him read at a really great (but long gone) children's bookstore in San Diego called The White Rabbit (saw Rosemary Wells and Kevin Henkes there too!). Do you know who his parents are? Clement Hurd and Edith Thacher Hurd!

  2. Tanya, I am so envious, an autographed copy. I am embarrassed to say that I only recently realized who Thacher Hurd's parents are. My kids have loved the beginning reader Hurry Hurry by Edith Thacher Hurd and Clement Hurd for a while. When we bought Art Dog last year, I kept thinking, the name sounds familiar.
    Further proof that we are picture book soul mates, I read your blog earlier today and saw that you love Weslandia. I began writing a review for it last week because it is one of our favorites too.