cover image Zoomer


Ned Young, Author . Harper $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-170088-0

Young's debut picture book features a lively puppy who insists he's “way too busy” to get ready for school, much to the frustration of his father (mom's away) and brothers. Although the text provides a routine description of ordinary family life, Young inserts fanciful visual illustrations of birds bowling in the treetops and pelicans appearing out of nowhere, making it clear that Zoomer's world is one in which just about anything can happen. Zoomer shows off his artistic talents by sculpting first an ornate dog food castle, then an enormous brontosaurus in the sandbox. Even more surreal, he sails a pirate ship on a sea created by a garden hose, transforms the sofa into an elephant, and crashes his spaceship through the roof of the house. Young's exuberant illustrations are the clear focal point—Zoomer's siblings and father are flat characters with generic dialogue (“I think that kid needs a major time-out,” complains one). Even the exclamation points are overdone as Zoomer gets the last laugh, reminding his family that he doesn't have to go to school because “TODAY IS... SATURDAY!!!!” Ages 3–7. (May)