A little girl works through her school nervousness by setting up Winnie’s Disobedience School for her dog, whose behavior needs some work.
Winnie doesn’t teach the normal dog school subjects; these are topics and routines that will resonate with kindergarteners: finding your cubby, ABCs, music class, nap time, math (subtraction—of bones—is easy for Waldorf, addition not so much), art. It’s during gym class that Waldorf shows his true colors: he steals the tennis ball from Winnie and runs off but then prevents a smaller dog from running into the street in front of a car by passing the ball to him. By then, it’s been a long and full day, and Mom tells Winnie to clean up and get ready for bed—it’s school for her in the morning! And Waldorf’s behavior is so much improved that he can walk Winnie all the way there. As in Winnie & Waldorf (2015), Hites nicely captures the bond between the white blonde and her big dog in her watercolor illustrations, and Winnie’s pupil is a step up from those of the kids who hold pretend school with their stuffed animals. Waldorf has a marvelously mobile face, and readers just may be cheering both his heroic rescue and his improvement in behavior by the end.
Winnie is sure to meet the challenge of school with the same verve she exhibits trying to teach her dog. (Picture book. 4-8)