cover image The First Dog

The First Dog

Jan Brett. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-227650-8

Brett, author/illustrator of such favorites as Annie and the Wild Animals , has turned to prehistoric territory for her newest book. Kip the cave boy is on his way home with only a bag of Woollystet upper case, in book Rhino bones and his wits to protect him from the dangerous beasts of Ice Age Europe. At his first rest-stop a Paleowolf appears, to beg for food. Kip gives the wolf nothing and teases him, but each time Kip stops to eat, one of the wolf's keen senseshearing, smell, eyesightsaves him from an approaching animal, including the much-feared Saber-Toothed Cat. When both are safe but hungry, Kip makes a promise to Wolf: he will supply food, if Wolf will supply protectionand Wolf wags his tail to become the first dog. With folksy cadences and repetitions, this seems written to be read aloud. The illustrations are bright, with vivid details that richly evoke the possible landscapes of a prehistoric era; this is an appealing story of the way things might have been. Ages 4-8. (September)