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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.

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.

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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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