A canine explorer finds small adventures in the wide world outside her fenced yard.
Fox’s simple, patterned chant has echoes of “Billy Boy” and is terrific fun to read aloud: “Is it fun in the street, / Nellie Belle, Nellie Belle? / Is it fun in the street, / Nellie Belle? // Greeting everyone you meet, / in the street, in the street— / is it fun in the street, Nellie Belle?” To this verse, Austin pairs bright cartoon scenes featuring a small hound who digs her way out of a lush garden, leaving a plush teddy bear behind. She is greeted by children and other passers-by, chases and is chased by sea gulls, plays with a seal, and follows a ball into the deep shade beneath a stand of trees. Crisp-edged, colorful digital art combines vignettes, full-page pictures, and double-page spreads (both framed and unframed), keeping energy high. But enough’s enough, and the spooky eyes of “possums in the dark, / in the park, in the park” sends Nellie Belle scooting back home to snuggle down in her bed with “dear old Ted.”
Sunny, reassuring fare for recent graduates from toddlerdom itching to leave safe harbors (for a time, at least) to check out new horizons of their own. (Picture book. 3-5)