Bow-Wow Wiggle-Waggle

Mary Newell DePalma. Eerdmans, $14 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5408-7

DePalma (Uh-Oh!) offers a festive exercise in free association, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Spare, gently comedic watercolors tell the story: a boy and his dog are playing fetch ("bow-wow/ wiggle-waggle/ yip-yap/ yowl!") when a cat appears ("paw-paw/ pitter-patter.../ meow!/ growl!"), and a multianimal ruckus ensues. The cat leaps over a stream, along with a frog ("Hip Hop!/ ribbet-ribbet/ splish-splish/ splash!") and scurries into shrubbery, from which a snake emerges ("Hiss! Hiss!/ slither-slither slip,/ sink slide"). The dog's enthusiasm morphs into sadness when it realizes it has lost both the boy and the cat ("sag, flag/ sniffle-snuffle/ sputter/ bawl"), but a reunion isn't far away. Set against a pleasing balance of white space and peaceful greenery, DePalma's delicate artwork is clean and fresh; the excitable, wide-eyed dog is the star of the show and exudes the most personality as it bounds after the cat, stares at a squirrel, and tumbles joyfully with its owner in the closing scene. It's a fun read-aloud, but not a quiet one: preschoolers will be easily drawn into the book's verbal energy. Ages 3–7. (July)