A Vacation for Pooch

Maryann Cocca-Leffler. Holt/Ottviano, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9106-9
A small girl's world is upended several times in this emotionally observant story from Cocca-Leffler (Princess Kim and Too Much Truth). First, Violet is upset that her beloved dog, Pooch, can't accompany the family to Florida on vacation, and will instead be staying at her grandfather's farm. Then, during the trip, Violet is horrified to discover that her special bag (with her dog, crayons, and books) has been swapped with Pooch's bag (containing his leash, food, ball, and stuffed "Fluffy Cat"). "This is horrible!" Violet wails. "While I was playing... Pooch was bored! While I was with my new friend... Pooch was lonely! While I was eating... Pooch was starving!" A quick call to Grandpa offers yet one more surprise: Pooch is doing fine, making a new friend, sleeping without Fluffy Cat's help, and enjoying some homemade beef stew. Cocca-Leffer's gouache cartoons, accented with fabric elements, capture Violet's emotional swings with empathy and humor; compassion and love for Pooch dominate Violet's thinking, and the story celebrates those qualities while offering a gentle reality check. Ages 4–7. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/18/2013
Release date: 02/19/2013
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