Buster: The Very Shy Dog

Lisze Bechtold, Author, Lisze Bechtold, Illustrator
Lisze Bechtold, Author, Lisze Bechtold, Illustrator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $15 (48p) ISBN 978-0-395-85008-4
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Prebound-Glued - 48 pages - 978-0-613-35495-0
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-21095-9
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-0-618-11122-0
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Three brief vignettes about a bashful canine comprise this uneven yet often charmingly illustrated beginning reader from newcomer Bechtold. In the opening tale, ""Buster's First Party,"" Bechtold's watercolors and hurried ink line whimsically capture the dynamics of a household filled with three cats, two dogs and an array of guests, and the plot exploits shy Buster's predicament to the fullest. The artist is at her best when she gets specific, as in a series of three Thurber-like spot illustrations when the pooch takes notice of a little girl who feels left out of the festivities. As he edges closer in the next two scenes, the elements of the composition shift and convey his transformation as he overcomes his shyness to befriend her. The next two stories are less intimate--in ""Buster and Phoebe,"" Buster feels dwarfed by pooch pal Phoebe's talents until he finds one of his own; ""Buster and Phoebe Meet the Garbage Bandit"" chronicles the dog duo apprehending the culprits for whose mischief they've been blamed; both tales take place at night accompanied by illustrations steeped in subdued colors. Still, the dogs have very childlike characteristics, and youngsters will find much with which to identify. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)
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