Story Books, with pictures, or picture books with stories?; Cooper: The McNally's Big Black Dog, by Nancy Winslow Parker. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company. $7.95.

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Having grown up in the literary era of Dick and Jane, Spot and Puff, I find it rather fun meeting a dog named Cooper. If nothing else, doggy names have certainly improved in two decades.

Actually the whole book -- all 26 pages of it --anyone who has lived with a Labrador retriever. Somehow Ms. Parker's simple text and charming drawings manage to convey the warmth and humor that the gentle, sometimes awkward, big black dogs can generate.

Unfortunately, not so charming is the price. Even considering the "reinforced durable binding", $7.95 seems a bit stiff. Because of its simplicity, it may not have a long lasting appeal for a youngster. Grownups, however, may end up rereading it dozens of times -- it's the kind one wants to show to friends. But it might make more sense to persuade the local library to buy it, and then borrow it from them.

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