Man’s best friend is at the heart of 13 curious tales culled from worldwide traditions, crossing oceans and time. From Africa to Arabia, China to Japan, the stories span a range in both tone and subject matter. While many of the stories appeared in the Hausmans’ The Mythology of Dogs (1997), those regathered here are the archetypal and mythological, the fanciful and magical, including ghost dogs, immortals, and canine heroes who speak and sing, marry princesses, transform, catch flying bullets in their teeth, and recover magic rings. A two-inch-tall faery dog shines in “King Herla’s Hound,” while the mighty Thor’s companion reveals why the watchdog Rottweiler’s fierce growl sounds like thunder in the throat in the pourquoi tale “Thunder Mouth Dog.” The Hausmans are well-grounded in both folkloric elements and storytelling sensibility, arranging their tales in short chapters such as “Trickster Dogs,” “Enchanted Dogs,” and “Guardian Dogs”; they punctuate each with an explanatory, if complex, punchline of sorts. Moser’s characteristically striking design portrays the akita and basenji, spaniel and shar-pei as if the dogs posed for portrait sittings. Singular compositions focus on each dog as individual, without ornament or fanfare, as if in sculptural relief, carved against the surrounding vast plane of the page. (notes, sources) (Folklore. 8-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-80696-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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There is an ineffable sweetness in Rylant’s work, which skirts the edge of sentimentality but rarely tumbles, saved by her simple artistry. This companion piece to The Bookshop Dog (1996) relates how the cookie-store cat was found, a tiny, skinny kitten, very early one day as the bakers came in to work. The cat gets morning kisses, when the bakers tell him that he is “sweeter than any cookie” and “prettier than marzipan.” Then he makes his rounds, out the screen door painted with “cherry drops and gingerbread men” to visit the fish-shop owner, the yarn lady, and the bookshop, where Martha Jane makes a cameo appearance. Back at the cookie store, the cat listens to Father Eugene, who eats his three Scotch chewies and tells about the new baby in the parish, and sits with the children and their bags of cookies. At Christmas he wears a bell and a red ribbon, and all the children get free Santa cookies. The cheerful illustrations are done in paint as thick as frosting; the flattened shapes and figures are a bit cookie-shaped themselves. A few recipes are included in this yummy, comforting book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-54329-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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