A boy is devoted to his new pet in this wordless adventure.
From the beginning there is something a bit mysterious and intriguing about this book. Endpapers mimic old-time movie countdowns—“3-2-1”—as if it were a show, and the story itself is divided by black title cards. Viewers are introduced to a child with a small, red balloon dog on a string, possibly made by a clown seen peeking from a tent. Spencer feeds it, reads to it, bathes it, sleeps with it, and takes it to the vet. During a walk in the park a gust of wind tugs the leash from Spencer’s hand. An exhausting chase ensues, involving a carousel, an encounter with a sharp-toothed bulldog, and more before landing them both in the middle of a birthday party where there are many more balloon animals. A game of Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey leads to disaster—and an amazing, incredible surprise. As befitting the vintage-movie conceit, there are close-ups, wide-angles, and multiple vignettes of the breathless, careening chase across the pages. The illustrations are in shades of black, white, and gray with only the red dog providing a splash of color. Spencer presents white, but there is diversity in the depictions of the additional characters. Young readers will be tickled and amazed and will want to view it again and again.
Original and thoroughly delightful. (Picture book. 4-10)