Dog Gone!

Leeza Hernandez. Putnam, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-25447-5
Reprimanded for chewing up a boy’s toy dinosaur, a tan dog with brown spots runs away from home. In her debut as an author, illustrator Hernandez (Eat Your Math Homework) contributes tight, minimal rhymes with just a few words per page (“Happy dog/ Yappy dog/ Settle down, you snappy dog”). The mixed- media digital collages, which recall the work of Scott Menchin, focus on the dog’s dismal experiences as he tries to navigate the wide world. The dog’s emotions—anger, fear, sadness, joy—are clearly transmitted through the artwork, and Hernandez keeps things interesting by varying her perspectives (a “glum dog” scene looks down from above at the dog as it investigates a cardboard box shelter) and alternating between full-bleed scenes and small, boxy vignettes. Eventually, some streetwise dogs and cats—who appear menacing but are anything but—encourage the runaway, and his fiery-haired master comes to his rescue in a reunion filled with hugs, kisses, and slurps. Spot-on verse, a satisfying story arc, and an honest and loving portrayal of the ups and downs of pet ownership make this one a winner. Ages 3–5. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2012
Release date: 06/14/2012
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