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by David Lloyd & illustrated by Charlotte Hard

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: May 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7636-0755-X
Publisher: Candlewick

Is happiness contagious? The answer is a resounding yes (or, perhaps, a woof) in this vivacious, interactive tale that takes a look at joy from a dog’s perspective. When Polly takes her dog Molly to the park, Molly begins to bark with glee. Soon other dogs—fat ones and thin ones, fierce ones and sausage ones—come around sniffing, barking, and frolicking about. The utter elation of the frisky pups affects their various owners, who are overcome with mirth at the sight of this jubilant, canine melee. The text is divided into two parts; one is the central story about the dogs in the park, printed on the upper portion of the pages in oversized letters. The other is a running commentary from the narrator, acting as a subtext to the story and set in a smaller font, encouraging readers to bark and sniff like the dogs. Children can stretch their imaginations and voices as they contemplate how to bark in bouncy, fat, and fierce voices. Hard’s (Save Brave Ted, not reviewed, etc.) comical watercolors of the playful pooches are set against the warm tones of mustard yellow and light umber backgrounds. Her expressive illustrations deftly convey the subtle nuances of canine body language with jaunty tails and perky ears. It is a tossup which part readers will enjoy more: the uproarious, energetic pictures, hilarious story, or the narrator’s comments, which nurture that wonderful capacity of young children for unabashed silliness. Get ready for listeners to be howling and hopping about with abandon during a read-aloud of this high-spirited romp. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)