Introducing Pug Man, a wrinkled sack of grump…when things aren’t going his way.
Meschenmoser draws Pug Man as a thicket of spidery, gray lines. Readers meet him while he is still under the bedcovers, and he reeks of grump. Finally: there’s his face, which is a little squinty for a pug. It doesn’t matter. This dog has character. He has slept until noon. Grump. He does his business. (He looks like Whistler’s mother relieving herself.) Grump. There is no milk, cereal, nor coffee. Grump, grump, grump. The morning paper has been left out in the rain. “It was a bad day for Pug Man.” But wait. “Suddenly a fairy appeared.” A pink and gold fairy that looks as if she has been drawn by a kindergartner. She rains goodies down on Pug Man: raspberry drops, cake, the friendship of a kitten or a piglet. “Castle, car, swimming pool, / You’ve got three wishes—that’s the rule.” (The fairy speaks in couplets. Pug Man doesn’t speak. He projects.) Pug Man takes the offer. He wishes for breakfast. He wishes for a dry newspaper. He wishes the fairy would turn into a silent piglet. Yes, Pug Man is a bit rough on the fairy, but they are his wishes, wishes that erase the granite grimace from his face. He even grins.
Wonderfully grouchy, with a touch of wickedness and a soupçon of warmth and color. (Picture book. 4-10)