THE STRAY DOG by Marc Simont

THE STRAY DOG

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

Really splendid artwork—something Caldecott Medallist Simont has been noted for in the past 60 years—sets this book skipping like a stone on water. The tale revolves around a family and the dog they meet during a picnic in the park. He’s a scruffy item, but game to share the family’s lunch and join in the festivities. “They named him Willy.” When it’s time for them to go, the family has to leave the mutt: “ ‘He must belong to somebody,’ explained the mother, ‘and they would miss him.’ ” Simont’s illustration is the car, headlights on, blurry image of parents in the front window, and two small arms reaching out the passenger side. On the opposite page sits the dog, rendered small and alone. All that next week their thoughts drift to Willy—double pages show each family member so deep in thought that the ball is dropped, the pot is boiling over, the coffee is pouring over the edge of the cup. When they return to the park the following weekend, they are delighted to see him again. Only this time Willy motors by them at warp speed, with the dog warden in hot pursuit. Once he is netted, the officer tells the children that Willy is a stray. “He has no collar. He has no leash,” says the warden. The boy volunteers his belt as a collar, the girl offers her hair ribbon as a leash, and a pet is born. The language here is simple, sweet, and expressive, as is the sure-handed art. Varying between double-paged full-bleeds to vignettes placed on white backgrounds, the illustrations are pure Simont, from the perfectly captured family scenes to Willy streaking by and then cowering under the net. The sentiments are equally direct and elegant, with generosity and affection mingling like waters in a bath. Willy’s a winner. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-028933-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2000




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