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From the Charlie the Ranch Dog series

by Ree Drummond & illustrated by Diane DeGroat

Age Range: 2 - 6

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-199655-9
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Charlie, a long-eared, nap-loving basset hound, provides a highly filtered view of his life on the ranch. As he tells it, he and his sidekick, Suzie, are in charge. His bouncy, short-eared friend seems to be some sort of a terrier—all energy—and is always a few steps ahead of her buddy. Charlie, well, he is a basset hound, perpetually in search of the next meal and a quiet place to sleep. He has to keep the cows in their places, help Mama with the garden, catch fish and, of course, sniff the steps. Like Gloria, of Office Buckle and Gloria fame, Charlie’s perceptions are quite different from reality. His down-home dialogue coupled with expressive watercolors give readers not-so-subtle clues about the personality of the dogs involved. They see Suzie running and herding the cattle, lugging baskets of vegetables and generally keeping the ranch in shape while Charlie rests his eyes and sleeps. But one day Charlie finds himself without his sidekick and actually proves himself to be a valuable farmhand. Young readers will chuckle at the unabashed, obvious humor and will especially enjoy finding the hidden, unnamed chipmunk buddy on every page. Rather bafflingly, Drummond, mostly known for her Pioneer Woman blog, provides an unexpected recipe for lasagna as backmatter. This incongruity aside, Charlie's tale is an agreeable if ephemeral one. (Picture book. 2-6)