THE VERY KIND RICH LADY AND HER ONE HUNDRED DOGS

Chinlun Lee, Author, Chinlun Lee, Illustrator
Chinlun Lee, Author, Chinlun Lee, Illustrator . Candlewick $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-1290-0
Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-0-7636-2125-4
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-7445-7543-9
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In a series of idiosyncratic, journal-style drawings, newcomer Lee creates an engaging portrait of a woman who shares her life with 100 beloved pooches. The first couple of pages enumerate her beloved dogs, pictured on successive pages in growing numbers, with a tone of equally growing disbelief ("There were Ginger, Esme, Henry, Abdul, Molly, Jacket, Tinkle, Biscuit, Toot.... That's sixty-one"). Some come in matched sets: Eeny, Meeny, Miney and Mo; Groucho, Harpo and Chico. Finally, a tiny black puppy straggles in all by himself, carrying a bone, "Bingo, who was always late." (He's carefully hand-labeled in subsequent pictures so readers can locate him without trouble.) The very rich lady grooms and feeds them and "calls them by their hundred names"; she stands alone on a hill, and Lee shows the names coming out of her mouth comic-book style, in a stream-of-consciousness flow (interested readers can check them off, in order of their appearance in earlier spreads). Next, 99 dogs surge toward her like iron filings to a magnet; Bingo, of course, is late. Lee's artwork looks appealingly naïve, with pencil scribbles for dog hair and a flat, Egyptian-style perspective; her subtle use of color and texture tell of sophisticated gifts. Remarkable both for its artful understatement and its genuine affection for all 101 of its subjects, this small charmer is not to be missed. Ages 2-up. (June)

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