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SMOG THE CITY DOG by Adria Meserve


by Adria Meserve & illustrated by Adria Meserve

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8118-3551-0
Publisher: Chronicle

Billed as a retelling of an Aesop’s fable, The Dog and His Shadow, this update follows the trail of a hungry dog along a city waterway. Smog the dog has stolen a bag of groceries and must find a place to eat them, while the rest of the animals in the park—a mouse, a hedgehog masquerading as a porcupine, a squirrel, duck, cat, and fox—want their piece of the action. When Smog, who doesn’t want to share, drops the bundle into the drink while barking at his reflection in the water, he realizes he has to cooperate with everyone to get the food back. The moral is well taken, the illustrations are nice and colorful, and the text winds through the design; you might say all the pieces are in place. But somehow it lacks punch, or cleverness, or edginess, or just plain soul, enough for the reader to ask, “Why did they bother?” Simply, Meserve’s debut is a taste but not a feast. (Picture book. 4-7)