Rosco the bulldog is “the heavyweight champ of 17 Parkwood Avenue,” quick to unleash a cascade of barks whenever necessary. Then the new baby comes home, and Rosco finds himself knocked off his perch and locked in a war with a take-no-prisoners rival. Provocations, retaliations, and skirmishes between dog and baby ensue, which Ward (The Importance of Being 3) depicts mostly through spot vignettes, working in cut paper, watercolor, and pencil; a score-keeping teddy bear on each spread underscores just how high (and funny) the stakes are, while helping readers track who’s winning. Children will also notice that as the baby matures, the relationship gradually shifts from one of bitter foes to worthy adversaries to best bros—which is fortunate, because shortly thereafter, twins arrive. This genre of picture book often posits a baby who is eager to be friends, passively aggressive, or blissfully unaware of the pet’s feelings. Ward’s imagining of a very active war of wills—“Two heavyweights. One house”—is a fresh, clever twist, and one that should appeal to both singletons and newly-made siblings. Ages 4–8. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2016 Release date: 06/14/2016 Genre: Children's
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