Nicola Edwards, Author . Running Press Kids $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7624-1725-4

Spunky, stylized angular art featuring an inventive juxtaposition of bold hues propels the action in Edwards's debut picture book. The playful illustrations will grab kids' attention from the first image: a father arrives home and opens his jacket to reveal a grand surprise, "out popped a puppy." That child-pleasing scenario leads to an entertaining series of episodes: the pooch licks Charlie's face while the boy announces, "I'm going to call him Baxter"; after Charlie puts his new pet to bed in his basket, the diminutive Baxter tries in vain to climb the stairs but tumbles back down; and with each trip downstairs, Charlie makes futile attempts to placate the howling puppy by giving him a blanket, a teddy and his old pacifier, by turns. A pair of droll framed images reveals the determined Baxter's backside as he "wobbled and stumbled up the stairs," at last reaching the top, where his dogged efforts to awaken his new owner eventually pay off. The pooch achieves his goal of snuggling up with Charlie and finally falls asleep. Mimicking hand-lettering, the text's large, bold typeface and its simple sentences are nicely targeted to beginning readers. A fresh and feisty take on the perennially popular theme of a new pet's arrival. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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