This dog has been a regular on New Yorker pages for over forty years. Looking aggrieved, the dog often sits in a room with wrinkled carpets, rickety furniture, and a crochety old couple. A naked light bulb dangles from the ceiling.
The dog belongs to George Booth, a cartoonist in his eighties who still sits at his drawing board daily and laughs out loud at his own work. His favorite themes are cats and dogs, yard sales, goofy rural couples, and incompetent car mechanics working in dog-infested garages.
Booth grew up in rural Missouri with his schoolteacher parents. His mother was also an accomplished artist and musician. After high school, Booth attended several art schools but never stayed long enough to graduate. Drafted by the Marines during the Korean war, George was oblivious to military discipline and often in trouble. A bunkmate recalled an inspection in which recruits’ clothes were to be folded neatly and stacked on their beds. Booth dumped his in a pile and waited. When the inspecting officer asked, “Where’s your clothing layout?” George replied, “That’s it, sir.’ The office struggled to keep from laughing and simply said to his aide, “Put him on report.”
Before selling his first cartoons, Booth worked for a shopping catalog as an illustrator of men’s clothing, drawing long underwear. Booth recalled, “I got bored and started drawing the latest long underpants for dogs.” It almost got him fired.
Since 2008, Booth has collaborated with several children’s authors to publish books for elementary school kids. Starlight Goes to Town is about a chicken with dreams. On the cover is a chicken trying to drive a convertible, and the first drawing shows her standing on a fencepost in red high heels.
School! Adventures at the Harvey N. Trouble Elementary School describes a week in the life of Ron Faster, a boy who catches a schoolbus each morning driven by Mr. Ivan Stuckinaditch. In his silly school, the music teacher is Mrs. Doremi Fasollatido, and the custodians are Janitor Iquit and Janitor Quitoo.
Booth once told a reporter, “To be a cartoonist, you have to be a little bit crazy.”