HANK AND FERGUS by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund


Age Range: 5 - 7
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Hank is sure his imaginary dog Fergus is the only friend he needs. When new-boy-next-door Cooper tries to strike up a friendship, Hank accuses him of stepping on Fergus’s tail. All Cooper can see is the ratty old shoestring Hank uses for a leash. Bad feelings grow until the leash is broken during an argument. Both boys feel awful, but make up by exchanging gifts. Nielsen-Fernlund’s first picture book is a mixed bag; the rocky start to Cooper and Hank’s friendship is laid out well, and it’s nice that Hank gets to keep his imaginary friend. However, this simple story is muddled by the addition of a focus, near the end, on Hank’s raspberry birthmark. The birthmark is not mentioned in the beginning, and young readers will be confused when Cooper asks, “What’s that thing on your face?” Hank does explain the birthmark in the end, but his explanation interrupts the flow of the real story. Despite the fun of Laliberté’s bright, full-bleed illustrations, in which Fergus changes his breed to suit Hank’s mood, this Canadian import is not a first purchase. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-55143-245-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2003


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