When a dog named Egg Cream muddies the cover of his young mistress’s favorite book, the girl figures out how to make everyone feel better.
The text is in the third person, but the story is told from a book’s point of view—a whimsical rarity. The book—aptly named Book—has been waiting, Corduroy-like, for a child to appreciate his fine qualities. (“He was solid and strong. His words were smart and playful.”) After the girl—known simply as “the girl”—has acquired Book, he and the girl are ecstatic companions until the girl’s other love—whom Book refuses to call anything but Dog—manages to muddy Book. The mixed-media illustrations do a beautiful job of capturing such things as the interior of a bookstore, the girl’s love for both her companions and the tragic moment of mud. Fortunately, if unrealistically, the mud has not damaged Book’s pages; Book bravely refuses to cry, as “Tears would ruin his ink and paper.” After a dark night for Book and the girl, the girl wakes up refreshed and ready to solve the problem of Book’s muddy cover. Book’s understanding of the girl’s love for her dog is a particularly poignant inclusion, both textually and visually.
The idea’s originality and the child-friendly instructions at the end of Book’s tale make this a novel gift pick for the juvenile bibliophile. (book-jacket instructions) (Picture book. 4-8)