A little girl named Winnie narrates a story about humorous interactions with her huge dog, Waldorf.
In addition to her big dog, Winnie has a big sister named Sara, who is preparing for a violin recital that evening in their home. Winnie and Waldorf sneak into Sara’s off-limits bedroom and knock over Sara’s violin, breaking one of the strings (astonishingly, the instrument itself is fine). Sara is angry at Waldorf and suggests he be replaced with a cat. But later at the concert, Waldorf’s antics with some cupcakes help Sara overcome her nervousness. A satisfying conclusion shows the family enjoying a story together on the couch, with Waldorf happy in the middle. The story is simple and accessible, and both Winnie and Waldorf are likable characters with a variety of appealing expressions. Digitally produced mixed-media illustrations create the look of watercolor paintings, with a soft focus and muted palette. One culturally insensitive detail mars the overall success of the illustrations, as Winnie wears a Plains Indian–style feather headdress to the concert with accompanying text stating “We dress up in our most formal attire….”
As characters, Winnie and Waldorf are a winning pair, but Winnie’s unfortunate choice of costume reflects a sadly out-of-step approach to cultural understanding. (Picture book. 3-6)