It turns out the dog really did eat the homework.
Garland’s title page nicely sets the scene and establishes the young narrator’s veracity: He is dutifully sitting at his desk, lamp blazing, doing his homework. But the next morning, the papers are nowhere to be found. In an excellent portrayal of searches by real-life kids, who imagine that everyone would want and naturally steal what they are looking for, spread upon spread of full-bleed illustrations in rich colors show readers what the boy imagines happened to his homework: “Maybe Martians from outer space invaded my room and abducted my homework!” Plundered by pirates, taken by a slithery boa constrictor and run away to join the circus are just a few of the other possibilities. But just as his mother is calling that it’s getting late, he hears some suspicious slobbering from the living room. (The question of where the homework was between the boy’s desperate search for it, dog at his heels, and his hearing these noises is never addressed.) Of course, the boy simply must drag the dog to school to confront his teacher, and a lucky deus ex machina belies her suspicions. Garland’s trademark style combines fuzzily digital illustrations (especially of hair and fur) with collaged patterns and textures.
If only all students were as diligent and truthful as this one (and every homework search turned out as happily). (Picture book. 5-7)