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2-8-10 Ana Juan Baby It's Cold Outside.JPG

Pollux writes:

Are dog-sweaters and dog-coats just silly accessories? After all, dogs have fur, so why would they need to wrap up for the winters as humans do? But dogs, despite their natural furry coats, get cold, they get wet, and they get uncomfortable.

As one blog points out, “small dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Maltese; also Yorkies, Lhasa Apsos, and Shih tzus (especially if clipped) need protection from the cold, along with Bichon Frise and short-haired dachshunds to name a few… if your dog seems to be cold, then yes, he or she should wear a sweater.”

People want and need these coats for their little dogs. Dogs shiver without the extra protection. Recently, a terrier named Lexie was the victim of a mugging in Brooklyn. While Lexie’s owner went into a store to buy milk, a thief ripped the $25 woolen dog coat right off Lexie’s back. Presumably the stolen coat will clothe another dog that needs it.

It is a collection of small dogs that we find on the cover for the February 8, 2010 issue of The New Yorker, illustrated by Spanish artist Ana Juan.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is the name of Juan’s cover, which delights in depicting various breeds wearing various brands of winter-wear: a bulldog wears a deer hunter, a poodle wears earmuffs, a Chihuahua wears a poofy Gore-Tex coat, a Griffon wears an overcoat.

This cover concept gives Juan the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of textures and colors. We can almost feel the dogs’ sweaters, hats, and coats, as well as the fur of the dogs themselves.

These dogs are all well taken care of, and they seem snug and warm. But the dogs also seem a little embarrassed and confused by the extra padding created by the canine clothing. Immobilized by their leashes and by the cold, they stand about in the dog park while their owners presumably chit-chit about the cold weather.

Ana Juan is a longtime contributor of covers to The New Yorker, giving us so far almost twenty covers depicting everything from Napoleon concealing a soccer ball in his coat to a February 2, 2004 cover depicting a woman wearing a fur coat being pursued by cats attracted to the texture of her apparel. As with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” Ana Juan skillfully creates an illusion of depth and texture to her figures. You want to stroke the fur on the female figure’s coat.

This tactile quality to her work lends itself well to the world of children’s illustration, and Ana Juan’s 2004 book The Night Eater, which she wrote and illustrated, is replete with clouds and landscapes that look “touchable.”

Juan’s wrapped-up dogs make us smile and give us comfort in the winter cold. As the Urban Newlyweds blog writes, “The February 8, 2010 issue of The New Yorker was just too cute to pass up, and timely! Be sure to bundle up with your loved ones (your hub and your pup) and enjoy the snow-covered city scenery this weekend.”

Baby, it’s cold outside. To misquote the song of the same name, “Say, lend me your coat - It’s up to your knees out there.”


The lyric is actually, “Say, lend me a comb.”
You see, she’d taken off her hat in the first verse.

Elliot NestermanFebruary 10, 2010

Thank you, Elliot! Some online lyrics databases give it as “coat” instead of “comb” (e.g. http://www.metrolyrics.com/baby-its-cold-outside-lyrics-dean-martin.html), but “comb” makes more sense. Thank you!

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