Two dogs find an egg in a nest and try to teach a newly hatched baby bird how to be a puppy.
Readers see at the opening of the book that egg and nest were left for the dogs by a mischievous, black cat. (There is no hint as to what’s happened to the mother bird.) The cat hides a note in the nest advising the dogs to sit on the nest, hatch the egg, and “teach baby to be a good dog.” The clueless canines fall for this setup, sitting on the egg through rain and snow until a tiny bluebird hatches. The bird, spotting the gray, male bulldog, immediately imprints on the dog, repeating “Ma-ma” as he looks at the dog lovingly. The male bird is dubbed Junior, and the dog parents try to teach him proper dog behaviors, such as growling and rolling over. The bird follows his own instincts, responding with “tweet”s and pulling a worm out of the ground, until the dogs finally realize their baby is really a bird. When the black cat reappears to laugh at the situation, the bird scares the cat away with an enormous “WOOF!” in huge display type. Czekaj’s digitally produced illustrations have a flat, comic-strip look, complementary to the broad humor and primary color palette. The dialogue is set off in white speech balloons in large type that will be accessible to both new readers and older readers who need a simple storyline.
Enjoyable humor with a subtle lesson about parents accepting a child who is different. (Picture book. 3-7)