Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MY DOG JACK IS FAT by Eve Bunting


by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Michael Rex

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5809-8
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Good intentions don’t compensate for a heavy-handed approach in this latest effort to teach kids about the perils of obesity. Bunting’s brief text plays out primarily in simple declarative sentences that appear as dialogue, thought balloons and the occasional description of straightforward action. When freckle-faced Carson takes his dog to the vet, she points out that Jack is too heavy and prescribes more exercise and less food. For some inexplicable reason, while Jack slims down, Carson bulks up on pizza, soda pop and the like, so that by the end of the month he’s the one in need of intervention. Rex’s flat, cartoon-style illustrations emphasize the blunt, unadorned style of the text but do little to flesh out the cardboard characters. Bright colors and whimsical details, such as Carson’s bone-patterned shirt or Jack’s ridiculous romp on a treadmill, do add some visual humor but not enough to lighten the overall effect. Carson’s sad self-examination as he's dressed only in tighty-whiteys seems decidedly overdone, while his wordless conversion to a bike-riding calorie burner on the final page belies the truth suggested in earlier illustrations—that fast food bears much of the blame for the current epidemic of obesity. Skip this didactic drivel and skip rope instead. (Picture book. 4-7)