Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ALFIE IS NOT AFRAID by Patricia Carlin


by Patricia Carlin & illustrated by Patricia Carlin

Pub Date: May 29th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4231-4537-0
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

A clichéd story accompanied by less-than-engaging illustrations. 

With his nameless owner narrating, a black-and-white dog named Alfie prepares for the quintessential backyard campout. The young boy is full of pride for his brave pup, rattling off all of dangers of which Alfie is not afraid—grizzly bears, poisonous spiders and boa constrictors, to name a few. As the list of terrors lengthens, the little dog reassesses this camping idea and is eventually found quaking with fear in the sleeping bag. As night falls, the drop of a nearby acorn morphs into deadly asteroids and alien invasions. What can possibly happen next? As the boy’s imagination plucks out a multitude of canned fears, it is mildly humorous to see the myriad ways the panicked dog is imagined. But there is little visual attraction to either the fearful dog or his blustering owner. The illustrations are flat and unsubtle, with pages alternating between multiple black outlined scenes that represent the dog's imagination and the camping expedition. Even the typeface choices seem simply stuck onto the page. There are enough camping stories available to demand a stronger story before adding this to the shelf.

Consider Tom Birdseye and Ethan Long's Oh, Yeah! (2003) for backyard-camping fun instead.  (Picture book. 4-8)