This British picture book, with more text than usual for the format, tells the adventures of Albie, a dog, who is looking for his mate, Nellie.
While the book’s design is rather staid—illustrations in full bleed that run past the gutter and text on the rest of the white page with some black-and-white spot illustrations—its content is not. The story’s text is robust and rambles conversationally (in a very good way) as it details what Albie sees and smells and hears on his adventure to find Nellie. Author Milton (author/title pun duly noted) has a way with words as he introduces American readers to an English countryside in summer. His observations are keen and ingenuous, just the sort a dog may have, and this artless feel is echoed in illustrator Elliott’s watercolors. White outlines give body to a riot of color and naïve forms, and the overall feeling is one of delight. The story is simple: Albie wakes up in the cozy kitchen and discovers that his boon companion, Nellie, is missing. He trots outside and investigates the garden, meadow, seashore, and town. Then Albie, (after an adventure in town involving sausages) finds himself drawn to a cave in the heart of the mountain, where he meets Gwendolyn, an ancient dragon who helps him find Nellie. Nellie has never been in trouble, though; quite the opposite, and the ending is a satisfyingly happy one.
Just lovely. (Picture book. 3-8)