Readers meet many animals common to U.S. cities when a shaggy, terrierlike dog slips away from home for a day and wanders around his neighborhood.
“Nature is all around us, even in the city. Follow Scooter as he uses his senses to discover city critters.” Despite the dog’s friendly, winsome expression, children over age 7 will probably chafe at the command and the ensuing simplistic story. Little ones, however, will enjoy the many opportunities for seeing the animals that Scooter notices—and those he does not. Throughout his odyssey, every double-page spread is crammed with digitally produced, hyperrealistic urban scenes full of flora, fauna, people, and human-created objects. There is a bit of plot, as Scooter’s responsible African-American owners search for their lost dog and post signs. Juvenile humor enters in the form of bird poo on the dog’s head. After the predictable, comforting ending, there are excellent notes for teachers and students. Unfortunately, the story itself and the illustrations have an overworked quality that may lead readers to give up before reaching the endnotes. Also, the text inexplicably and regularly uses italics in a way that detracts from natural scanning. (“Scooter isn’t aware of the pigeon feathers….But he soon becomes aware of an unfamiliar sound.”)
Scooter’s adventure is suitable for young children, while the endnotes will interest general readers of all ages. (Picture book. 3-7)