cover image Great-Aunt Ida and Her Great Dane, Doc

Great-Aunt Ida and Her Great Dane, Doc

Leah Komaiko. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30682-9

``Great-Aunt Ida and her Great Dane, Doc / Take a half an hour to walk halfway down the block / And each old lady Aunt Ida sees / She stops to say hello,'' complains this tale's narrator, a tough-looking red-headed skateboarder. Should he and Doc (a scene-stealer with beady eyes and an enormous snout) mosey along at Ida's snaily pace or make a break for it? Although Komaiko ( Annie Bananie ) never quite quells the sourness of the boy's initial disdain for elderly Ida, his grudging politeness gives way to admiration when she calmly chases off an unruly pack of dogs. Irregular rhymes are tricky to read aloud, but inspire Schindler ( Is This a House for a Hermit Crab? ) to zany zestiness. The artist makes the most of a rambunctious fantasy sequence in which the narrator, astride Doc, ropes cattle and, later, performs ``deluxe somersaults'' with the dog at the circus. The patient Doc seems to conspire with the narrator yet strolls serenely with Ida--unlike his human playmate, he's the picture of loyalty. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)