Spike, an abandoned “Ugliest Dog in the Universe”–contest winner, finds love and a new home in this heartwarming tale about beauty—and its many permutations.
Verbally abused and cast away, Spike’s resilience and optimism remain—largely due to Joe, the kind boy from next door. First-person narration makes the dog all the more endearing: “If you could see inside my heart, you’d say...beautiful.” Joe’s mom, while sympathetic, says they can’t afford a dog, so Spike works hard to charm her. With an earnest sincerity, he explains his efforts to become more appealing. It’s only when Spike spoils a catnapping scheme and Joe is paid for a published drawing of Spike that the dog and boy are finally united. Frasier’s exceptional artwork and text will have readers rooting for the lovable Spike. Using found materials, she creates ingenious collages that act as metaphors, revealing beauty in what once appeared useless and worn-out. Blue jeans tell Spike’s story, hard-working and durable; they also connect him to Joe and his mom, who both wear the fabric. Evangeline, the award-winning cat, is surrounded by silk and lace. Seamlessly integrated design enhances both emotional and comedic beats, as the author reveals beauty in its myriad forms.
Brilliant. (Picture book. 4-8)