Love That Puppy! The Story of a Boy Who Wanted to Be a Dog

Jeff Jarka, Author, Jeff Jarka, Illustrator . Holt $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8741-3

Jarka channels the Cartoon Network aesthetic to the hilt with this debut story of a boy in touch with his inner canine. Donning a dog costume with huge floppy ears, Peter excitedly sticks his head out the window during car rides, fetches his father's slippers (causing Dad to wonder if maybe there might be an advantage to his son's obsession) and even eats his own homework. Readers will be disappointed that Peter caves to parental pressure in the end (“Maybe he should be a boy again like everyone wanted”) and will probably see the easy-out ending coming from a mile away. But the cartooning is good manic fun, and the exaggerated characters, despite their overwrought reactions to almost everything, feel grounded in reality. Jarka, unlike W.C. Fields, is clearly someone who loves working with both dogs and small children. Ages 4–8. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/01/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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