Friendship blossoms between canine and rodent in this paean to the sheer joy of being alive.
A greyhound and a groundhog are startled to meet, one waking from a nap and the other popping out of a burrow. Before long, however, they are frolicking together, romping about and running through meadows before finally collapsing in satisfied fatigue. Jenkins’ playful text (“A round hound, a grey dog, a round little hound dog. / A greyhog, a ground dog, a hog little hound dog”) has a catchy rhythm that begs to be read out loud. The text dances across the page, perfectly in sync with the watercolor pictures; on one page the line “and a sound” hovers beside the splash created by the greyhound’s foot, its curvature visually echoing the arc of the water. By varying perspective and distance, Appelhans creates dynamic, high-energy illustrations that maintain interest despite featuring only two characters against a plain, minimalist background. Readers look down on the two friends from above as they spin in giddy circles and see them in comical close-up as a butterfly flits past. Groundhog bursts from the end of a hollow log, paws outstretched, about to soar above the heads of readers, who have a ground-level view of the action.
This delightful story is a feast for the eyes and ears, and it will hold up well to repeated demands from eager young listeners. (Picture book. 2-6)