A self-centered canine belongs in the doghouse.
Dudley Dog seeks constant praise from his terrier sidekick Bonzo. Always calling for attention, Dudley balances precariously on his bike, dangles upside down from Grandma Goat's tree, and sends ducks running for cover when he dives head-first into the wading pool. Bonzo admires these daring feats, but Dudley's attitude (“There's only room for one megastar in this village. And that megastar is me!”) forces Bonzo to follow his own path. When jealous Dudley realizes that Bonzo's piano playing charms everyone in town, the bossy pooch stages his own talent show. Though initially successful, Dudley's musical inability leaves the audience wincing (one sheep puts a pail over his head to muffle the racket). Unaccountably, Bonzo comes to the rescue, Dudley finally accepts Bonzo's paw of friendship, and the show continues without a hitch. Dudley never grows into a likable character: Bonzo is the only one working at the friendship, and Dudley only accepts Bonzo's kindness when it benefits him. Bright colors fit the carnival atmosphere; Dudley's rhinestone collar and sparkling-star leotard shine. The depiction of his dramatic stunts moves the action forward to its resolution. Campy dialogue (“It's going to be a quacker!”) and the sappy conclusion sound off-key notes.
Dudley's inflated ego makes him one doggy dud. (Picture book. 3-6)