BAD DOG, DODGER! by Barbara Abercrombie


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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Sam wants a dog, but his parents insist he is not yet responsible enough to have one. Sam tries very hard to show his parents how good he can be by cleaning his room, eating his vegetables, and hanging up his hat. Finally, on Sam’s ninth birthday his wish is granted. He is given a soft, black puppy he names Dodger. Dodger proves to be a handful of rambunctious energy. He knocks over the garbage and chews up Sam’s baseball cap, making Sam “. . . so mad he almost cried.” Even when Dodger gets relegated to the backyard, he creates mischief by following Sam to school and knocking over the hamster cage. When Dodger upsets Sam’s Little League game by running off with the bat, it becomes clear that something must be done. Faced with giving Dodger away, Sam gets motivated. He rises early in the morning and begins a daily practice of training Dodger. Their hard work pays off, for at the next Little League game, Dodger proves himself more fun than trouble. Supported by full-bleed oil paintings in lush, enveloping colors, Gustavson’s (Where the Big Fish Are, 2001, etc.) talent lends warmth and depth to this work. Dodger is painted with the please-love-me quality of an irresistible shaggy dog. With text enough to keep an early reader busy, this is a perfect cautionary tale for a youngster about to get a first dog. Abercrombie (Michael and the Cats, not reviewed, etc.) illustrates without pedantry that a well-trained dog makes life happier and more harmonious for humans and canine alike. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-83782-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2002


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