The Adventures of Jack and Rugby


In the fourth installment in Beale and Messer’s (The Adventures of Jack and Rugby: Best Friends, 2011, etc.) children’s book series, two dogs embark on a mountainside adventure.
Canine best-buds Jack and Rugby go on an overnight trip in the mountains, in a story based on a real-life excursion the authors’ families took together. An opening one-page primer on the two dogs, who are based on the authors’ real-life pets, throws their differences into relief: Jack is a trim and adventurous black Labrador, while Rugby is a giant, cuddly poodle with perpetual bed-head. The story, told from the dogs’ points of view, uses straightforward prose suitable for elementary-school readers. It lays out a meticulous plot about climbing a mountain in the California Sierras, with punctuated asides detailing the dogs’ thoughts and movements. As they venture up the trails, they run, climb and swim. The two explorers approach the great outdoors very differently; Jack bounds into streams and lakes at the first opportunity, as Rugby timidly approaches the water, not wanting to get wet. The next morning, when they come upon a sizable lake near the summit, Rugby finally is brave (and overheated) enough to join Jack in the mountain water. Adventures feel less scary with your best friend, the story concludes, before the two head back down the mountain at sunset. Full-size color photos accompany most pages of text, and smaller, framed snapshots of the dogs at play give the story an appealing family-photo-album feel. The narration effectively shows Jack’s and Rugby’s shifting moods and emotions, which give the characters depth. However, it also sometimes distances readers from the camping experience, as they often engage with the dogs’ interior lives, rather than with the simple pleasures of watching dogs at play.

An often engaging children’s story of a rugged, exhausting day in the mountains with two dog friends.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-1935530312

Page Count: -

Publisher: Park Place Publications

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2014

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The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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