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DIGBY by Barbara Shook Hazen

DIGBY

By Barbara Shook Hazen (Author) , Barbara J. Phillips-Duke (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1997
ISBN: 0-06-026253-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

 This I Can Read book is a conversation between a boy and his older sister, stylish children in ``homey,'' oversize clothes. When the boy commands his dog, Digby, to play catch, his sister explains that the dog is too old to play, but has different qualities now, such as patience. She also points out that she can play with him, just as Digby played with her when she was small. Behind the simple words is sweet wisdom; this tale from Hazen (Wally, the Worry-Wart, 1990, etc.) translates to tolerance for all the elderly. The illustrations, from newcomer Phillips-Duke, are a weak point. Three nearly identical scenes of Digby asleep in his basket open the book; the interaction between siblings grows static as they remain in the kitchen while they talk. Although the style is deliberately naive, there are details that readers will see as mistakes: A clockface has nine hours marked, instead of twelve; two small framed paintings ``float'' around on the kitchen wall (sometimes next to each other, sometimes on a diagonal); the dog basket suddenly disappears from view; a chair that appears to one side of the table in most pictures is on another side for one scene, and then abruptly back in place. These flaws bury the sturdy sentiments of the story. (Picture book. 3-7)