Veronika Layne, Wilma, and Attaboy have something to say to you.
Veronika Layne Gets The Scoop by Julia Park Tracey (Booktrope Editions, 2014, $11.95, 160 pp.)
Alameda-based author and magazine contributor Julia Park Tracey launches her Hot of the Press Series with snappy prose, great description, and an admirable main character, Veronika Layne, a 25-year-old girl wonder reporter equipped with tattoos, gumption, and lust, as evidenced by the steamy sex scene starting on page 28. Our heroine suspects a shell mound in the midst of a new housing development, but her new corporate editors don’t want the gal assigned to covering pets and seniors to rock the boat. Layne juggles nimrod bosses, a love interest, and sources with a hothead she learns to temper in this island mystery that draws from the author’s own experiences.
Wilma’s World: Good Advice from a Good Dog by Wilma the Good Dog (and her human, Rae Dunn) (Chronicle Books, 2014 $15.95, 119 pp.)
Find a little inspiration in this charming picture book by Wilma, a Jack Russell terrier who belongs to Rae Dunn, a well-known ceramic artist with a Berkeley studio. Dunn photographs her beloved goofy, big-eared girl in mostly silly scenarios—at the typewriter, in a cowgirl outfit with a lasso, with a suitcase on the tracks—to convey feel-good life-affirming sentiments like “Tell your story,” “Get roped into new experiences,” and “Be spontaneous.” Each image-word combo works wonderfully. Above all, Wilma wants you to be open to the unexpected and to let life surprise you—absolutely good advice, especially from a dog. Thanks, Wilma.
The Book of Hugs by Attaboy (Last Gasp, 2014, $14.95, 77 pp.)
Toy designer, children’s book author, Hi-Fructose Magazine co-founder, and Richmond artist Attaboy has a new illustrated book out, this one on hugs. Consider it a user’s guide to hugging appropriately, though it also is somewhat of a useful manual on whom and what not to hug (gangsters you owe money to, razors). Attaboy sketches bulbous, Pokémon-ish characters that are reminiscent of cats, squirrels, rats, and dogs, throwing in a futuristic giraffe, fish, and worm or two for good measure. The one-liners are funny and out there, and so are the cartoons—a lot like Attaboy himself. Attaboy, by the way, (aka Daniel Seifert, but don’t tell anyone), recommends this humor book for “an unsuspecting friend, lover, or even yourself! Just think twice before trying some of them publicly.”
—Judith M. Gallman