Sarah McMenemy, Author . Candlewick $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-2059-2

In McMenemy's easygoing and accomplished debut, illustrated in looping black outlines and soft-edged paper collage, a girl and her father play with their new puppy. "One day Rosie's dad came home early," bringing a white puppy with a saddle-shaped spot on its back. Rosie discovers that "The puppy thought everything was exciting,/ especially the shoes." In understated images that suggest harmless but messy fun, the two investigate a wastepaper basket and a flower garden (" 'This is a very muddy puddle,' laughed Rosie./ 'Woof, woof, woof,' agreed the puppy"). When the puppy goes on a mad dash and hides somewhere in the house, Rosie notices that its happy tail gives it away: "The curtain was waggling./ Waggle, waggle, waggle!/ ... / Rosie looked at the puppy. 'I think we/ should call you Waggle,' she said." Rosie's merriment comes across in the repetitive language, and her father's indulgent smile—even when a trail of black dots indicates dirty footprints on a floor—suggests the honeymoon phase of dog ownership. McMenemy keeps the storytelling and imagery simple, and quietly builds the blossoming bond between girl and pup. The artist works in a limited set of solid-color construction papers, which are torn into chunky shapes and detailed with a smooth gouache line that recalls Chris Raschka's freestyle doodles; occasional horizontal and vertical swaths of color create multiple panels within a single spread. McMenemy's playful page design and enthusiastic narration convey a family's delight in puppy behavior—and a new talent to watch. Ages 2-5. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-7445-9230-6
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