Hector the Bully

Dinah Priestley, Author Carolrhoda Books $12.95 (25p) ISBN 978-0-87614-356-8
Hector is a pink and white bull terrier with a ``mouth like a shark'' and teeth that are ``as sharp as daggers.'' Harriet, who lives nearby, dreads going by Hector's house on her way to school, because the dog is not tied up and can therefore growl, lunge and threaten at will. Harriet thinks Hector's bad temper stems from being forced to help his self-indulgent owner, Mrs. Gnash, serve tea on Wednesday afternoons. One day Mrs. Gnash discovers a look-alike contest for dogs and their owners. Determined to win, Mrs. Gnash has Hector's fangs filed and capped to more closely resemble her own pearly false teeth. They win the contest but Hector's spirit is broken and Harriet protests against this ``injustice.'' The pictures in this book are zany, colorful and expressive, and the bullying Hector is infused with a large measure of charm. But that doesn't alter or ameliorate some of the frightening flaws in this book: the pictures of Hector at the dentist are out-and-out scary; Mrs. Gnash's brutality is never addressed; and Hector is not depicted as a bully with a redeeming streak of goodness--he is presented as a genuine threat, allowed to run free. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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