In cartoon format and awash with voice and thought bubbles, kids and canines make a day of it at the dog park.
The Super-Duper Dog Park that is. Here our pooch pals can do everything from playing badminton to riding an old-fashioned bicycle, swim underwater, climb trees and howl at the rain. Steinke’s text is geared to be easy reading, but it is not without cleverness: snatches of rhyme or onomatopoeic devices that give a good taste of sound. Sometimes the text can feel almost surreal—while a girl is crying out, “We can bounce!” she is also thinking, “Dogs in the bounce house!” Sometimes there appear to be role-reversals, as when a boy is thinking “Food! Food! I want food!” just as readers might imagine a dog thinks about hunger. The artwork follows the text’s accessible engagement. It's as visually plain-speaking as a Nancy comic strip but also active and varied; the drive to the dog park—kids and dogs only, dog behind the wheel—passes through verdant fields, parched desert and snow-capped alpine ridges.
Both colorful and high spirited, this title will give new readers a good run for their money. (Graphic early reader. 6-9)