In this series picture book, an unlikely friendship fosters teamwork.
Chicoree’s Hickory Doc, a German shorthaired pointer living at the Lazy Dog Hacienda, recalls when a crow named Willie fell from the sky. Doc’s daughter Patch and Willie became playmates, which irritated Doc’s brother Zeke. One day, Patch asked the crow to play near a swimming pool. When Willie said it was dangerous, she called him “chicken.” Insulted, Willie flew away; Patch stumbled into the water. Doc, unable to swim, helplessly watched his daughter struggle. While Zeke kept watch, Doc and Willie asked black Labrador Newt for help. When Newt said that he was afraid of water, Willie said, “I use [sic] to be scared of flying….One day I flew lower….Now I’m not scared.” Finally, Newt rescued Patch, and the group was unified by their efforts. Harkey (Solitary Toes and Brown-headed Cowbirds, 2019, etc.) delivers a tale that effectively emphasizes a familiar theme of community collaboration. At times, the author includes unnecessary details that are already shown in illustrations, such as the dogs’ physical appearances (“My coat is dark brown with white on my chest”). Returning illustrator Minick’s images are simple and colorful, nicely depicting key moments in the text.
A predictable but meaningful children’s tale.