Following One Two That’s My Shoe (2012), Murray again riffs on a traditional nursery rhyme, keeping its cadences while focusing on a day in the life of Zack and his faithful dog, Rufus.
Rufus follows Zack to school, where he romps with a small group of ethnically diverse classmates as they march in a band, play dress-up, bicycle, scooter and skateboard (sans helmets), and paint at easels. There’s nary an adult in sight, and most of the analog clocks that anchor the day’s events (from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) have no numbers, leaving the time-telling to grown-up readers. Murray’s digital art employs a palette ranging from flat, retro pastels to bright primary colors. The children sport stylized hair and clothing, with black dots for eyes. The antics of shaggy, yellow Rufus earn him splotches of blue, green and pink, as well as some glued-on fallen leaves. Oddly, large swaths of time elapse between some adjacent spreads. Zack and Rufus arrive home at 5 p.m.—three hours after leaving the classroom for the leaf pile. Since the day’s passing hours are one of the story’s themes, such unexplained time lapses are unfortunate.
Flawed internal logic mars this slight tale. (Picture book. 3-5)