Hound and Hare

Rotraut Susanne Berner, trans. from the German by Shelley Tanaka, Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $18.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-88899-987-0
Berner's (Definitely Not for Little Ones) story is predictable—of course, the rivalry between the Hounds and the Hares will resolve—but her thorough treatment and earnest artwork make it worthwhile. The sensible-looking animals and their surroundings are drawn in blue pencil—Harley Hare and Hugo Hound's families may see the world in black and white, but Berner clearly doesn't. The ancient feud is effectively portrayed ("You don't want to spend time with those flat-footed lettuce nibblers," says Hugo's father), as is Harley and Hugo's puzzlement. They enter the same race, get lost in a storm, and rescue Pippa Pig together, healing the rift and starting a new tradition—sharing a single pair of prize roller skates. Tanaka deals handily with the many dog- and hare-related puns ("They are soaked to the bone and dog-tired"). Insults turn to humor once the two animals become friends: "What I wouldn't give for a dish of rabbit stew," Hugo says during their trek back to civilization. "If only I had my cozy houndstooth jacket," replies Harley. A solid bridge between picture book and early reader. Ages 6–9. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Children's
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