The beloved puppies of Gaston (2014) are back, this time with Antoinette’s story of self-discovery as she reveals that every dog has a gift to share.
Mrs. Bulldog knows each of her pups is special. It’s easy to see the talents of Rocky, Ricky, and Bruno. But Antoinette? Well, Mrs. Bulldog reassures her daughter there’s something exceptional about her. Unsure, Antoinette plays with her siblings and the Poodle family until one day a pooch goes missing! When her brothers can’t find the errant dog, Antoinette determinedly takes up the cause and ultimately saves the day. Once again, DiPucchio and Robinson don’t miss a comedic beat, creating a playful and funny tale full of warmth that deftly explores complex themes of belonging, self-worth, and purpose. Robinson’s seemingly simple artwork belies his masterful ability to imbue his characters and the places they live with an authenticity and humanity that move readers beyond the surface of the page. Done in a warm palette, the sophisticated acrylic paintings create a sense of depth through scale and repetition. Spot illustrations in the rescue scene act like slow-motion film frames to great effect, and readers will adore the motley paw patrol running before the Louvre and its iconic glass pyramid.
A reassuring tale that celebrates the uniqueness of each dog (or person) and the creation of a purposeful life. Three cheers for the winning Antoinette, who “could not—would not—give up!” (Picture book. 2-7)