cover image Nugget and Darling

Nugget and Darling

Barbara M. Joosse. Clarion Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-64571-0

Nugget, a yellow mutt with expressive eyes, enjoys the companionship of a girl named Nell. But after Nugget finds a homeless kitten and Nell adopts it, their exclusive friendship changes forever. Nell lets the kitten, Darling, sleep on Nugget's golden rug; she even takes Darling into her treehouse, leaving an inconsolable Nugget on the ground below. As in Charlotte Voake's recent picture book, Ginger (Children's Forecasts, Jan. 13), the girl eventually finds a way to assuage her original pet, and the two animals learn to share their space. Joosse narrates at a lively clip, with occasional onomatopoeia (""Wham! The table crashed to the floor. Darling flew in the air.... Mrraaaiw!""). Truesdell's (previously paired with Joosse for The Losers Fight Back) dynamic sketches suggest constant activity-the characters never hold still, and Nugget's scruffy features contrast humorously with Darling's pertness. The characterizations, both visual and verbal, are full-bodied and pleasingly idiosyncratic; while this story treads familiar ground, the execution is uncommonly endearing. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)