cover image Skunkdog


Emily Jenkins, , illus. by Pierre Pratt. . FSG/Foster, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37009-1

Although it doesn’t sail to the heights of That New Animal , this newest dog-driven story from Jenkins and Pratt proves again that author and illustrator are brilliantly simpatico. Enthusiastic, obedient, talented and even bilingual, Dumpling is beloved by her humans. Unfortunately, her anteater-like nose is useless. And that means “no dog friends. None. Without a sense of smell, she couldn’t relate.” How Dumpling finally gains a friend (its identity is hinted at in the title), and holds onto her companion against all odds makes for a touching tribute both to the hunger for connection and to the vitality of the human-dog bond. Jenkins writes in a thoughtful, urbane tone that never feels forced; when she uses a word like “paroxysms,” it’s out of respect for her audience’s intelligence, not to win points with winking irony. And while Dumpling may have a malfunctioning nose, Pratt makes everything else about her marvelously expressive. Whether she’s dutifully sitting for a caress or springing for joy, Dumpling’s eager eyes, vigilant ears and sausagelike physique are like a valentine to all things doggie. Ages 4-8. (May)