The droll dog-and-hedgehog duo is back, this time going to school.
As per usual, Buddy the dog is very matter-of-fact, naïve, and literal, while his prickly friend, Earl, sometimes lets his imagination take over reality. When Meredith (their white human owner) announces the two will be attending school, Earl is excited, since “Getting an education is the first step to achieving my dream of becoming a dentist.” Buddy doesn’t think hedgehogs can be dentists but is thrilled to learn that he too can be anything he wants with the right education. The two prepare themselves with a “nutritious breakfast” of Dad’s slipper and then gather some supplies. In the classroom, Earl is miffed at the other students, who not only refuse to return his greeting, but won’t even look at him. “They are only toys,” Buddy tells him. Then Meredith’s called away, and she leaves Earl in charge: “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.” Buddy excels at Earl’s lessons in sniffing, tail-chasing, and itch-scratching and is the enthusiastic recipient of an earnestly presented special student award. Sookocheff extends the tongue-in-cheek humor of the text in the gouache-and-Photoshop illustrations, Earl’s simple dot eyes and line mouth expressing his every emotion and Buddy the epitome of a dog, simple but loving.
Readers will enjoy their time with these two: another satisfying friendship adventure. (Picture book. 4-8)