cover image Cosmo Zooms

Cosmo Zooms

Arthur Howard. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201788-0

Howard's (When I Was Five; the Mr. Putter and Tabby series) illustration talents sustain this sweet but skimpy story of a skateboarding dog. ""Every dog on Pumpkin Lane was really, really good at something,"" from the fleet-footed Afghan hound to the Frisbee-catching terrier to the St. Bernard, Puddles, who ""could drool eleven hours in a row without stopping."" Only Cosmo, a black-and-white miniature schnauzer wearing a red bandanna and an eager expression, needs to develop a specialty. Cosmo discovers his hidden talent by accidentally falling asleep on a skateboard (which neither he nor the reader sees until it begins to roll). ""He tried to step off--and swerved. He tried again--and swooped."" Cosmo sidewalk surfs like a pro, wowing all of Pumpkin Lane with his moves. The antic images, sketched in bold black pencil with gouache and watercolor, have the arrested fluidity of animation cels. During Cosmo's wild ride, Howard establishes a sense of motion with blurs of color and rushing, staccato lines. The plot may be familiar, but the six canine characters (and single Siamese cat) exude personality. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)