An abandoned dog yearns for a new home with a young “sort-of” friend.
Each morning Chocolate wakes up in an abandoned windmill and spends the day lurking behind a fence, watching a child named Sarah. At last a bird asks him why he’s so dirty, and hearing his sad tale of abandonment (apparently because he was too big—“My bottom was huge!” he laments) when his former family went on vacation, the bird sings loudly until Sarah runs outside. It’s love at first sight or, as Blasco puts it, “they both felt a shiver run through their bodies. It was the beating of their hearts, which had become joined forever and ever.” Coco illustrates the syrupfest with watery painted images of doll-like human figures sporting painted red cheeks and a dog with a nose that varies in size in different views from merely humongous to face-swallowing. The array of dog collars on the endpapers has more visual appeal.
Readers who prefer their sentimentality raw and still on the bone may go for this, but Marc Simont’s Stray Dog (2001) is just one of many like episodes with the artistic and emotional depth this book lacks. (Picture book. 6-8)