Kirkus Reviews QR Code
HIP HOP DOG by Chris Raschka Kirkus Star


by Chris Raschka and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-123963-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

A neglected pup raps a bravado-laced memoir that chronicles his life on the street and gradual embrace of hip-hop culture. Raschka produces a text that—yes!—completely comprehends how to handle this larger-than-life-size poetic form in a short children’s text. The trochaic emphases of hip-hop’s signature cadences are not only celebrated, but delivered in bold type. “You just sit and perk your ears up, / Keep your paws still if you’re able. / Get the skinny on this here pup / While I bark this canine fable.” Radunsky, whose dry-brush, gestural shapes and dramatic color sense align with the author’s visual vocabulary, provides both full-bleed pictures and design. The green-eyed narrator, in a backwards baseball cap and bright white pants, dances and postures amid an attentive crew of human and canine consorts. The doggy refrains riff in concatenated barkspeak (“zoof zoof ha ha arf arf arf arf boof boof boof”) in display type that curves around the margins of double spreads in ever larger fonts. Begs to be read aloud, but—wow!—bows to no one. (Picture book. 3-8)