Carl's Masquerade is a beautifully illustrated, clever and humorous book aimed at preschoolers. On page one, the parents announce that they're going to a masquerade party, and tell their Rottweiler, Carl, "take good care of the baby." Therein lies the problem. In real life, parents who leave their baby unattended by humans and go off to a party, are guilty of child neglect. But this book presents this scenario as being cute and funny. Adults and older children reading this book can make the distinction that this is inappropriate behavior in real life, but the book's young target audience cannot.
Once the parents leave for the party, Carl takes the baby to the same big party, where they get admitted because the greeter at the door thinks they're in costume. Once in the door, the story is told only with pictures. At the party, Carl and the baby (who appears to be about a year old) see many interesting costumes and have fun adventures. The pictures are quite amusing and clever, such as when Carl sees what he thinks is a cat, but is really a human in a cat costume. Visual humor is the book's major strength. Although the baby spots her parents, the parents are always looking the other way and don't see the baby. Carl manages to get the baby home and safe in her crib just before the parents come home.
Although I wish I could recommend this beautifully illustrated, clever, humorous book, I simply can't, because of the parents' irresponsible behavior. I just don't count on preschoolers being able to make a distinction that this is a fantasy. Also, it might play on fears they have of being left alone. However, it's worth a quick "read" for adults and older children to enjoy the clever visual humor of Alexandra Day.