I'm Jeff Jarka. I wrote and drew the children's picture books, Love That Puppy! and Love That Kitty!
love that puppy!
Peter is an ordinary boy... at first. Then one day he decides to become a dog. He loves to play fetch. He can bark like no one’s business. And just look at him chase that mailman! But while Peter is good at being a dog, he is not always a good dog. What’s a puppy to do when his mother and father want their human son back? Jeff Jarka’s debut is part picture book, part comic book, and completely charming.
Reviews for Love That Puppy!
"Jarka's simple premise is so powerful—a little boy pretends to be a puppy to get his parents' attention—it makes one wonder why it's never been done before."
-School Library Journal
"The cartooning is good manic fun, and the exaggerated characters... feel grounded in reality. Jarka, unlike W.C. Fields, is clearly someone who loves working with both dogs and small children."
"Even the youngest listeners will have a howling good time."
"With large, comic-book style illustrations, the story's premise is witty and delightful."
-San Jose Mercury News
"Jarka’s colorful comic-strip-style illustrations drive the humor with one visual joke after another... Touches like Mom’s flipped hairdo and Dad’s Fred Flintstone-style schnoz give the computer art a retro feel. Children will appreciate both the absurdity of Peter’s behavior and Jarka’s delivery. Every collection needs lighthearted fare with strong boy appeal, and Love That Puppy! fits the bill."
-School Library Journal
"This one is cute. Plain and simple."
"This book works on one very simple level: its delightful absurdity... Young kids will hoot and holler over Peter's romps as a dog and, particularly, his defiance of his parents - and the mailman, of course."
-Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
"Dog books don't usually catch my fancy. But Love That Puppy! is different, it is really really funny."
"...a delightful book... The ending will give you a big smile!"
-We Love Kids Books
"A few weeks back I decided to buy Love That Puppy! by Jeff Jarka and I'm glad I did for a few reasons... The story is about something that kids truly pretend about... being a dog. I have seen kids in K-1 do this year after year during indoor recess... I know it will work for my beginning of the year second graders..."
Reviews for Love That Kitty!
"...the real story unfolds through Jarka's illustrations, which are reminiscent of children's animated TV shows or comic books. Jarka draws each character and setting with only a few well-placed lines filled in with bright solid colors. Peter's quirky confidence contrasts hilariously with his parents' bewilderment... Fans of Peter's first adventure will enjoy this one and look for more to follow."
-School Library Journal
"Jarka's comic book–style illustrations and surplus of visual gags remain fun.”
"...it will get a big laugh from the storytime crowd. Using cartoonlike characters with exaggerated poses and expressions, Jarka amplifies the comedy by juxtaposing deadpan lines of text with easy-to-read visual humor. Like his Love That Puppy! (2009), this appealing picture book carries through a single idea with many amusing variations and ends with a hint of Peter’s next adventure."
"Jarka’s frenetic cartoon family is back, this time coping with young Peter’s feverish adoption of all things feline. Dressed in a slinky black cat suit and a smile, Peter purrs, naps, pounces and generally creates havoc. Comic-strip style panels alternate with spot art and full-page pictures in bright colors and a flat perspective that add to the cartoony feel. Both text and pictures emphasize the ridiculousness of the situation, particularly on the page that shows Peter practicing “good hygiene” (potty humor is funny no matter what species you are—or pretend to be). "
"I loved Love That Puppy! I just loved it. It was cute. It was playful. It was fun. The text, the illustrations, they just told a great story. I was so happy to see that there was a companion book being published this year, Love That Kitty! This time Peter has decided to be a cat. He's taken up scratching furniture, playing with yarn, purring, and being invisible (when he's not seeking attention). His parents are as patient as they can be... in that situation. But. They are relieved when Peter tires of his new game. Until...
Well, Peter will be Peter. He's a great character. And I like him. I hope you do too!"
about the author / artist
Jeff Jarka no longer dresses up like a puppy or a kitty because he is now a full-grown man. Grown-up men never dress like pets except for special occasions like Halloween or UPS deliveries. He, his wife, Theresa, and their two sons live near Chicago, where Jeff never dresses like a puppy or a kitty. Certainly not in any way that counts.