Claire has unwittingly adopted a magic bird whose rhymes transform things—for better or for worse—in this second installment by Thompson (Rhymes with Doug, 2016).
Doug, a white, redheaded boy, rushes to school to warn his friend Claire, a black girl with small afro puffs, about Otto, a small green bird with a strange magical power. Otto likes to rhyme, and when he rhymes, things happen. “DOUG SLUG” turns Doug into a slug. Since Claire is now the object of Otto’s rhyming frenzy, the two friends’ adventures with the bird involve fun at a fair, a pair of baby bears, the bears’ dangerous mommas in a lair, and escape on a mare. The digital illustrations are cartoonlike and brightly colored, with some close-ups, some vignettes, and some full spreads. Once Claire, Doug, and Otto return from their adventure, Otto elicits “care” from Claire and a “hug” from Doug. At the end of the book, an older boy named Dale asks to try the magic bird, and he is turned into a whale. The plot, such as it is, is structured around the haphazard sequence of rhymes, and although the premise is mildly intriguing, there is neither enough story nor enough humor to keep readers engaged.
There are better books about rhyming, friendship, and magic to be found. (Picture book. 3-6)