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DOG SHOW by Elizabeth Winthrop


by & illustrated by

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8050-7111-3
Publisher: Henry Holt

Fred is a basset hound with a sad face; Harvey is his owner with a big plan. For the town dog show, they will enter the Dogs in Costumes event as a lion and lion tamer. Fred the dog will be the lion tamer and his owner will be the lion. When they win only an honorable mention, Fred protests to the judges, who then invent a new category, Dogs Who Look Like Their Owners. Children will be puzzled by this dénouement, as the two actually don’t look alike (other than their similar sour expressions), so the joke doesn’t come across in the illustration. The story fails to be funny or entertaining, because Harvey is a pushy parent figure and Fred is a powerless child figure who doesn’t want to compete but feels he must get a blue ribbon because Harvey wants it so much. The surrealistic illustrations have a dark, nightmarish quality, with too many unhappy and bored dogs, and Harvey looks scary as a person and downright evil in his lion suit. Give that poor dog a bone and send Harvey to therapy. (Picture book. 4-8)