A pampered, purebred pooch escapes from his owners and enjoys a taste of off-leash freedom.
Little Buzz has fluffy, snow-white fur and an aloof expression. The brief text describes his highly controlled life in an elegant mansion with his owners, who are heard issuing curt commands but never seen. Buzz is taken on walks but isn’t allowed to interact with other animals, sniff at interesting items on the ground, or romp with other dogs at the park. With the encouragement of a friendly bird, Buzz escapes from a groomer’s shop and proceeds to enjoy some unsupervised independence. Bright illustrations in tempera and pastels use a flattened perspective that reflects Buzz’s constrained emotional life. The little dog has a resigned expression throughout until he finds freedom, and only then does a tiny smile show on his face. An ambiguous ending shows muddy Buzz rolling in the grass outside his house, smiling with his bird friend. He’s unsure if he wants to return to his previous life, and there’s a new complication—a white cat staring out the window. This unusual, open-ended conclusion requires readers to interpret Buzz’s situation and consider different ways the story might continue. Some young readers with beloved pets of their own might find it hard to understand why Buzz wouldn’t want to go back to a warm house with plenty of food and his own special bed, prompting conversations.
An unusual, thoughtful tale exploring the canine call of the wild. (Picture book. 3-7)