A young German shepherd and his human family bound into snowy adventure in the second chapter book in Gorian’s (Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, 2014) series, with illustrations by Webb (Beautiful Brown, 2018, etc.).
Rosco, a 2-year-old dog, is full of exuberant, youthful energy; although he’s full grown, he’s still learning how to behave like his family wants. When they all travel into the mountains for a vacation, Rosco can’t help making mistakes: He ruins second-grader Mandy’s perfect snow angel; leaves paw prints all over her and fifth-grader James’ snowman (and steals its carrot nose); and accidentally drags Mandy down a sledding hill at a frightening speed. But when the kids stumble upon an angry mother coyote that’s trying to rescue her pup from a trap, Rosco stands between them and danger. The narrative shows the vacation from the perspectives of various characters, including Rosco himself, and offers details of potentially unfamiliar tasks, such as putting on snow tires. The Caucasian kids get along better than most fictional siblings; they’re well-behaved and hardly argue. Webb’s black-and-white images are spaced frequently enough to comfort independent readers who might be intimidated by books without any pictures. Their quality, though, is a bit uneven, and some feel unfinished, such as a hard-lined image of the coyote mother. The language is perfunctory rather than artful, but Gorian writes in a concise, simple style that budding readers will find accessible.
A fine choice for newly independent and reluctant readers, featuring good-natured characters, a well-intentioned mutt, and an outdoor rescue mission.