MR. BASSET PLAYS by Dominic Catalano


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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Wealthy, serious businessdog Mr. Basset learns the value of friends and play in this humorous cautionary tale. With the help of his terrier servant, Walter, Mr. Basset explores a too-rich adult’s idea of play: they buy a 60-foot yacht, collect works of art, and try horseback riding, but none of these pursuits satisfies Mr. Basset. He grows sad and withdrawn, until “his nose was warm and his fur had lost its luster.” Faithful Walter looks out the window one day at puppies and kittens playing ball, and suddenly realizes what Mr. Basset has been missing: friends. Walter takes Mr. Basset outside, where the depressed dog growls at the sight of the youngsters, until a ball sails his direction and he catches it in spite of himself. From there, it’s easy to join in the game, and the next day, Mr. Basset bounds out of bed, eager to play with his friends, including Walter. The text is full of phrases and words that remind readers the main characters are dogs; Mr. Basset “barks” and “whimpers” his words instead of “saying” them, and doggy expressions like “a list as long as the hind leg of a greyhound” add humor. The art is also full of such details: Mr. Basset’s important morning reading includes the Dog Street Journal and the Daily Wag; a computer on his desk is logged onto The large size of the soft, bright illustrations and the clear design make this a good choice for sharing with friends. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-59078-007-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2003


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