The author of the first few entries in the wildly popular Pete the Cat series debuts a new series starring Groovy Joe, a guitar-playing, ice cream–loving hound dog.
Groovy Joe is rocking out with his pal, a squirrel with sunglasses, as the pair gets ready to share a tub of Haagen Dogs ice cream. Suddenly a little dinosaur roars into the room, putting on a bib and pulling out a spoon in expectation of a scoop of ice cream of his own. Groovy Joe introduces the story’s refrain, “It’s awesome to share!” as he dishes up some strawberry ice cream for his visitor. But then a big dinosaur bursts in, followed by a huge dinosaur (the only specified female character), who polishes off the rest of the ice cream. Groovy Joe, a calm character like his predecessor Pete the Cat, takes matters in stride, turns over the empty ice cream tub, and uses it as a drum. The whole crew dances and sings a song about sharing and loving their doggy ice cream before marching off into the distance to dream up further entries in the series. Bold illustrations in watercolor and colored pencil are by Lichtenheld, illustrator of Sherri Duskey Rinker’s Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (2011). He clearly knows how to create captivating characters with engaging expressions and amusing antics. As with the Pete the Cat books, a musical version of the text can be downloaded from the publisher’s website.
Joe isn’t quite as cool as Pete, but a catchy tune, dancing dinosaurs, and strawberry ice cream are an enticing combination. Here’s hoping Groovy Joe soon meets a female counterpart—perhaps Hep Hilda or Beatnik Betty? (Picture book. 3-8)