Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MAD DOG MCGRAW by Myron Uhlberg


by Myron Uhlberg & illustrated by Lydia Monks

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: July 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-399-23308-3
Publisher: Putnam

Love conquers fear in a charming story about a boy and a fearsome dog. “I hate Mad Dog McGraw,” cries the little boy about his next-door neighbor’s pet. Mad Dog barks and chases our hero back home. To avoid going near the dog, the boy tries a number of strategies. He learns how to walk on stilts. That works until a stilt is caught in a crack and he falls right in the dog’s path. He decides to sail over him with an open umbrella. That works, too, until the wind stops and he falls into his yard. In desperation, he decides to get a cat to scare Mad Dog. Since he doesn’t have a cat, he tames Bait, a stray, by offering him milk. But instead of frightening the dog, Bait purrs and wins his love. The offer of a dog biscuit produces the same result with Mad Dog, and they all live happily ever after. Monks’s (The Cat Barked?,1999) paper montage illustrations with acrylic paint and colored crayons add to Uhlberg’s (Flying Over Brooklyn, not reviewed) humorous text. The bright cartoon-like figures with paperdoll-styled clothing are jaunty and fun. Mad Dog’s teeth all stick out of even his closed, smiling mouth. The boy’s five hairs stick straight up from his head. His wide O-shaped eyes with a little dot for pupils graphically display his fear. The cat’s long black-and-white striped tail curving high over her back is the picture of allure and sophistication. A delightful story, but children shouldn’t take its lesson too seriously when dealing with strange “mad dogs.” (Picture book. 3-8)