cover image DOG-EARED


Amanda Harvey, . . Doubleday, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-385-72911-6

Self-consciousness gets a shrewd appraisal in this tale of an insult, recounted by a white mutt with floppy brown ears. "I was walking home the other day/ when a large dog pushed into me and growled,/ 'Out of my way, Big Ears!'/ Big Ears? I thought. Surely not./ But doubt crept into my mind." The anguished canine tries to glimpse himself in shop windows as his impatient owner tugs at his leash. At home, while the girl blithely reads a book, the hound folds and twists his ears in new styles and has nightmares of his ears filling up with wind and being tossed like a kite in a storm. Fortunately, "in the dead of night," his owner visits him and provides consolation: " 'I love your large, silky, fabulous ears, Otis,' she whispered." The next day, the dog encounters the bully again, but his owner's pat on the head dispells his concerns. In gentle watercolors that complement the calm, retrospective voice, Harvey (Stormy Weather) matches the child's flyaway Pippi Longstocking braids to the pet's billowing ears. Like a best friend or a close family member, the girl understands the problem without having been told; her sincerity takes the sting out of a cruel remark, and the dog's internal monologue reflects a sense of humor as he slowly builds his confidence. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)