Two creatures find an unlikely friendship when one takes on the role of gagman and the other an unwitting straight man.
It’s raining, and Buddy is bored. Buddy is in the living room, and Buddy isn’t allowed to touch pretty much anything there. Buddy is a dog. The daughter of the house enters with a box containing a ball of sharp quills. The girl leaves. Buddy mooches over to get a closer look. Turns out the ball of quills talks. Call him Earl, says the ball of quills. Buddy asks Earl what he is. Earl suggests a race car. Buddy, though no Einstein, thinks not. Giraffe? No. Talking hairbrush? “Buddy was almost positive that Earl was not a talking hairbrush.” Earl suggests they engage in some no-nos, like jumping on the sofa, then on the coffee table. Buddy’s having too much of a blast to demur. Mom enters. Buddy gets a scolding, but Earl sticks up for him, even though Mom doesn’t appear to hear Earl’s defense of Buddy. Buddy does. And that’s how a dog and a hedgehog become friends in this winning series opener. Fergus’ deadpan text and Sookocheff’s simple, flowing artwork work in elemental harmony, elevating the book to a subliminal sophistication that breathes something quite smart into the proceedings.
Earl and Buddy know the secret of camaraderie and play it out in fine form. (Picture book. 4-7)