A dog and child walk around their neighborhood.
An adorable little white pup with black spots and a brownish patch over its eye nearly springs off the cover and into readers’ laps, setting the tone for the story within. The title page showcases the eager canine, leash in mouth, while the copyright and dedication spread feature the sprightly pooch already leaping along the sidewalk, its child trailing behind. Richmond’s ink, watercolor, and digital art creates a homey city with soft-colored brownstones, storefronts, and people of varying shades. The first page of text echoes the title, declaring, “a hop is up,” while the illustration shows the little white child holding the leash as the excitable canine hops on a gate. Observant readers will spy the reason for the dog’s hop, which becomes readily apparent in the next spread. Bicyclists, dancers, and others offer examples of direction, movement, and motion. Richmond highlights exemplifying characters with bold colors, favoring a more muted palette for background people and places. The charming, minimalist ball of furry energy is adorable in both form and exuberance (indeed, those paws rarely touch the ground!). A child of color protagonist would have been nice, but there are plenty of diverse skin tones in the supporting cast.
Engaging art and attention to cadence and rhythm should make for a read-aloud winner. (Picture book. 2-4)