In Rock’s debut picture book, an eccentric bulldog named Homer Henry Hudson collects “bits and bobs” from around the globe, displaying them floor to ceiling in his museum of curios.
Hudson takes great pride in his collection of riches, masterfully illustrated by Rock. These days, sidelined by an injury, this alliterative pooch keeps his museum “spick-and-span” and treats himself nightly to sushi dinner. He introduces museumgoers to his favorite exhibits, such as the Nóttlandian Stuffed Animal (a teddy bear), given as a token of gratitude from a young girl. Or his Humble Willow Root Cane, a twisted stick that mirrors his anguish at not being able to travel. But it’s his affection for the Manneken Mort of King Ingmar, a figurine wound with bands of the king’s life stories, that gets this bulldog wondering. Are his bands complete, or are there more? Rock’s illustrations are rendered in a subdued palette of watercolors, rich in earth tones and infused with touches of humble elegance. Young explorers will pore over the endpaper, title page and two-page spreads of museum space, drinking in each detailed treasure. Hudson’s droopy, liver-spotted mug is so realistic readers will want to scratch him behind the ears.
Hudson claims, “Everything has a story.” And through his personal descriptions and musings over each artifact, he knows how to tell a good one. (Picture book. 8-12)