My Sister Gracie

Gillian Johnson, Author
Gillian Johnson, Author Tundra Books (NY) $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-88776-514-8
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-88776-750-0
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Leaden rhymes and clumsy anthropomorphism derail this story of a dog who hates his ""sister."" Fabio, a pooch with a puff of white poodle curls on his head, expects his family to acquire a second male dog as his playmate. He's disappointed when the humans choose an overweight female dog instead: ""Gracie was large and lacking zest./ They said, `She'll need a lot of rest.' "" Fabio resents Gracie and foresees a rotten future for himself (""Now why is Fabio sad and snappy?/ Gracie was meant to make him happy./ Why do his tears fall down like rain?/ `If Gracie would go, I'd laugh again' ""). But when his canine friends mock his new family member (""Hey, Fatso, you're an/ Ugly hound./ Were you the last one at/ The pound?""), Fabio finally comes to Gracie's rescue. Unfortunately, readers will have a hard time understanding his change of heart. Johnson (Saranohair) draws Gracie as an indeterminate mammal with a pinkish-brown body, no visible fur, a catlike tail and a distinct resemblance to one of Berkeley Breathed's creations. Further, the author never supplies Gracie with a personality, and she styles Fabio as an unsympathetic fellow who weeps and insults other characters when he gets frustrated. This maudlin tale of undoglike, mean-spirited mutts fails as an account of sibling rivalry. Ages 3-5. (Nov.)
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