cover image Hound from the Pound

Hound from the Pound

Jessica Swaim, illus. by Jill McElmurry. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-358-62220-8

Miss Mary Lynn MacIntosh, who “lived all alone” in a stone cottage, makes a classic dog adoption mistake: she picks out the one dog that Sam, the pound canine trainer, tells her has not been obedience-trained. Sure enough, as soon as Blue the basset hound gets to his new home, he “chewed Mary’s bathrobe and peed in her shoe,/ then lifted his muzzle and hollered AH-ROOooo!” That howl is a clarion call to all the pooches Blue left behind, who escape from the pound and swarm Mary’s house—“Retrievers lined up at the toilet to drink./ Chihuahuas swam laps (¡muy bien!) in the sink”—antics that fill the book’s spreads. Mary can’t possibly manage this mutt mélange, but she can’t bear to part with them, either; enter Sam, who not only helps Mary train the lot of them, but also provides the necessary presence to turn a canine comedy into a full-fledged rom-com—complete with a pink poodle-themed wedding. With the cumulative feel of Dr. Seuss’s “Too Many Daves,” bouncy, mischievous rhymes from Swaim (Why Do I Chase Thee, for adults) and lovingly rendered, doll-like doggy portraits by the late McElmurry (Little Blue Truck) make this a fetching comedy pile-up. Human characters read as white. Ages 4–7. (Nov.)