MY FRIEND LUCKY by David Milgrim


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 6
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A deceptively simple exploration of opposites, illustrated by the relationship between a boy and his dog, Lucky. Milgrim’s (Patrick’s Dinosaurs on the Internet, 1999, etc.) cartoony illustrations depict a Charlie Brown–like round-headed boy and his genial brown dog as they demonstrate a series of opposites on succeeding double-page spreads. “Lucky gives / Lucky gets [kisses]” “Lucky’s sad / Lucky’s happy.” The two characters are surrounded by white space, with only the most necessary contextualizing details added. In the “Lucky’s hungry” picture, for instance, the viewer sees a table with a piece of cake and an excited Lucky; but when “Lucky’s full,” the dog is no longer to be seen, and the boy is left holding a carton of milk, his cake reduced to six crumbs. The “Lucky’s loud / Lucky’s quiet” spread features two nearly identical pictures of the boy doing his homework and Lucky barking (the dog’s mouth is open and little “bark” lines emerge, indicating noise)—the only difference is that in the “quiet” illustration, the boy is wearing earmuffs. Definitely not an introductory concept book, this offering clearly depends on a fairly sophisticated ability to decode the conventions of illustration. It is, however, a splendid primer in the art of visual irony, and its sly humor will have young readers chortling. It is also, of course, a love story; that the dog is not the only member of the pair who is lucky is amply illustrated on the endpapers, which reveal Lucky and his friend waking up together and then settling down for sleep in a happy heap on the boy’s bed. A winner, and not just for dog lovers. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-84253-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2001


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