The common developmental stage of imaginary friendship is creatively and charmingly addressed in this bittersweet tale of a boy and his dogs—one real and one pretend (or maybe not).
Harry lives alone with his dad. Harry wants a dog, but Dad has allergies. So Harry puts on his X-35 Infra-Rocket Imagination Helmet and conjures up his own perfect pet, a dream dog named Waffle. This new pet is huge and fuzzy, all light blue and white like cumulous clouds, and only Harry can see him. Waffle and Harry become best pals, with Harry’s dad playing along with the idea of the imaginary dog—though readers can see Waffle in all his blue-and-white, surprisingly believable glory. When Dad’s allergies suddenly improve, he brings home a real dog. A little adjustment of the helmet ensures that new dog Bumper can see Waffle, and Harry takes both dogs to the park. In a stunning conclusion, Waffle chases after fluffy clouds and disappears into the sky, leaving Harry not to mourn (he knows Waffle is happy) but to devote himself to Bumper. An imaginative, humorous text is well-complemented by large-format illustrations in gouache, pencil and ink. The busy illustrations are filled with fanciful details and funny peripheral characters, but Waffle is a captivating star with a real personality all his own.
This delightful story waffles irresistibly between reality and fantasy, and young readers will find Waffle the dream dog a tasty treat. (Picture book. 4-7)