This cheeky debut from Pliscou and Dunne pokes fun at traditional reading primers while reveling in California surf culture.
Truly non-bogus retro artwork in the style of 1950s Dick and Jane illustrations evokes a nostalgic sensibility with contemporary updates—including a notably multicultural cast of characters in several beach scenes. The pictures throughout the book are brightly colored and detailed, with endpapers decorated with paintings of surfboards and characters that rely more on gestural strokes than detail. The control of the text is intentionally broken to incorporate “surf-speak” on nearly every page, including when Dude’s friend Betty is introduced: “Betty is a righteous surf bunny. She does not live in the Valley.” While this might undermine the book’s success as a beginning reader, it totally ratchets up the humor in a most excellent way. After Mother and Father ask him if he’s cleaned his room and done his homework, Dude and Betty don’t “go” like Dick and Jane, nor does his dog Bud “run” like Spot—they “bail” and head back to the beach. “Waves are happening,” reads the final page. “Dude is stoked.”
Readers will be stoked too about this fresh, funny, way-cool slice of Americana. (Early reader. 6 & up)