Ciao, Sandro!

Steven Varni, illus. by Luciano Lozano. Abrams, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4390-0
Sandro is a little dog who wears a jaunty, blue-striped shirt and red bandana like his human Nicola, a white gondolier in Venice. He’s a “loyal first mate, navigator, and guard dog whenever Nic was called away from the boat,” writes Varni, making his picture book debut. Today, however, Sandro is off the gondola and calling on human friends at their distinctly Venetian workplaces, all of whom greet him with a warm “Ciao, Sandro!” Lozano’s (Call Me Max) sunny, slice-of-life drawings—rendered in digitally enhanced watercolor pencils and ink—capture the dog dodging tourists and delivery carts, and passing through back streets and famous sites, including the elaborate mosaic floor at the Basilica di San Marco. But this is no freewheeling doggie adventure: a few pages later, it’s revealed that Sandro has been personally reminding each of the pair’s friends to come to Nic’s surprise birthday party. Tagging along on Sandro’s mission makes for a satisfying outing, and young readers will certainly resonate with a small, cuddly, and much beloved protagonist who is also supremely confident on his own in the busy world. A glossary explains the meaning and pronunciation of Italian terms sprinkled through- out the text. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/22/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Children's
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