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DOG DAYS by Amanda Harvey


Starring Otis

by Amanda Harvey & illustrated by Amanda Harvey

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 2003
ISBN: 0-385-74621-0
Publisher: Doubleday

In a clever approach to the new-baby and sibling rivalry theme, Otis, the endearing canine from Dog Eared (2002), finds himself neglected, ignored, and forgotten when a new kitten joins the family and Lucy, his beloved owner, is occupied helping her little sister learn to take care of her new pet. Feeling unloved, Otis leaves home determined to have fun and misbehave as he rifles through garbage cans and chases after cats while colliding with shoppers and bystanders. Disenchanted with that sort of play, the good-hearted and sincere Otis arrives at the park, observes the actions of people and their pets alike, and thinking he isn’t being missed at home, begins to search out a new family. At the end of the day, however, when he is a guest at his friend Max’s house, Otis decides that he isn’t happy after all and runs home to be welcomed with open arms by Lucy. All is well as he is given undivided attention and reassured that he is “the greatest dog of all,” because he is Lucy’s best friend. Harvey has written a text that reflects honest concerns and thoughts through the humorous and subtly sarcastic voice of her character. Her watercolors in pale, pastel shades outlined in pen and ink gently evoke both the human and canine expressive faces, matching the mood and emotions demonstrated in the text. Otis looks justifiably upset, forlorn, and lonely, as well as relieved, happy, and content in the end. She also captures the small details of the story that are not told in the text, whether it be learning to take care of the new kitten or Otis’s humorous observations as in the French poodle and his owner’s similar hairdos. Wonderfully sympathetic and amusing. (Picture book. 3-6)