cover image Don’t Worry, Murray

Don’t Worry, Murray

David Ezra Stein. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-284524-5

Stein’s (The Worm Family Has Its Picture Taken) wide-eyed, floppy-eared, and utterly adorable protagonist is a small pup in an often overwhelming world, shown in fluid multimedia cartoons as far from in command of his surroundings. Murray worries about a lot of things: getting washed away by a rainstorm, a big dog in the park who might be a bully, the cat print hung near his bed that, to Murray’s eyes, seems downright ghoulish. But the omniscient narrator—Murray’s loving owner—never belittles the pooch, instead offering whatever’s needed to help Murray venture out into the world. Rainstorm? Murray gets a snappy yellow slicker that makes him wag his tail. Big dog? The narrator offers reassurance: “He’s nice.” Scary feline art? “I’ll stay right here with you while you fall asleep.” The solutions aren’t absolutely foolproof: that big friendly dog still has a very loud bark. But Murray knows, as readers will, that being loved, looked out for, and celebrated as “brave” for trying new things makes all the difference—and when one possesses that, a dog can have his day. Ages 4–8. (June)