Bailey

Harry Bliss. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-23344-6
Bliss's engaging vignettes follow Bailey the flop-eared hound as he trundles through a day at school. He's not like Mary's little lamb—he's a regular attendee. Rather than giving Bailey human characteristics, Bliss (Luke on the Loose) finds laughs in Bailey's irrepressibly doggy nature. Bailey can't speak, so his thoughts appear in balloons, just like those of his human classmates; when he rides the school bus, he sticks his snout out the window and thinks, "Faster! Faster!" Naturally, he's eaten his own homework ("Next time, try a banana," the school's male nurse advises when Bailey shows up with a stomachache). His school report is on FDR's dog Fala (Bliss prompts those who don't recognize the name with a student's thought bubble, "Oh! He's that man on the dime!"), and he howls through chorus practice. There's no tension to the story; Bailey transgresses, but the kids tolerate canine faults like digging through the cafeteria garbage, and the teacher wakes him when he naps. It's fine low-key entertainment, and Bailey's trials will elicit empathy and giggles from school-aged readers. Ages 3–6. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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