Dayle Ann Dodds, Author, Jill McElmurry, Illustrator , illus. by Jill McElmurry. Candlewick $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-1091-3

On their annual trip to the big city, the Kettles, a family of floppy-eared dogs, know exactly what they want: "Brand-new clothes, plain and simple as you please." But their favorite store is now in the hands of Monsieur Pip, a French-accented Scottie who promises: "My customers are always happy./ G-U-A-R-A-N-T-E-E-D." The ensuing give-and-take between the flashy salesman and the bumpkin Kettles lies at the heart of Dodds's (Sing Sophie!) amusing story. In four scenes, the Kettles try on Monsieur Pip's outlandish clothes, emerging in a parade of patterns. Monsieur Pip tries to convince them to buy ("Paisley... is perky and spry. I love it, don't you? Just give it a try"), but the Kettles aren't sold ("Too perky," said Father./ "Too spry" said Mother./ "Don't love it," said Sister./ "Nor I!" said Brother). McElmurry supports Dodds's playful mimicry with vivid, merry illustrations drawn against textured backgrounds; in the paisley costume change, for instance, the Kettles look like '60s hipsters. The story ends with a tail-wagging twist: the older Kettles may prefer their clothes plain and simple, but Baby Kettle digs stripes and plaids (ensemble!). This engaging book will earn giggles from kids who love a good joke, G-U-A-R-A-N-T-E-E-D. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/22/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
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