Julia Goschke. Minedesign, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-698-40038-2
Newcomer Goschke introduces a puppy with overlong ears that earn him ridicule. Langley's embarrassment and frustration turn to pride when he saves his endangered brothers and sisters by listening hard for them with his big ears; his siblings have fallen into a hole in the forest. ""Langley clapped one of his long ears over his eyes so that he could think more clearly."" Goschke shows the hero and some newfound friends as they push a dead tree down into the hole to rescue them. Langley's big eyes and snout are appealingly exaggerated, and Goschke paints his fur (and the thousands of blades of grass he and his siblings romp over) with meticulous care and startling crispness; the scenes look almost floodlit. Earlier on in the story, in the book's most charming series of scenes, Langley tries to arrange his ears to look smaller; he curls them, piles them on top of his head, then tries the Princess Leia look, holding up his silver dog dish to survey the effect. Whether or not children accept the book's message that physical defects may actually be their most precious assets (""It's what's between your ears that counts!""), they'll likely enjoy the furry, self-reflective hero. Ages 2-up.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2006