cover image Moe the Dog/Tropical

Moe the Dog/Tropical

Diane Stanley. Putnam Publishing Group, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22127-9

This blithesome tale of canine ingenuity offers midwinter warmth to those who begin thinking of island getaways even before the first snowflakes fall. While blizzard-like conditions prevail, scruffy mutt Moe and his springer spaniel pal Arlene work in the Frozen Cow Ice Cream Company's nippy climes. Given a week's vacation, they ponder an escape to Tahiti but can't afford plane fares; Arlene resigns herself to frostbite but Moe gets a better idea. With deck chairs, a wading pool, a few pineapples and some paint, he transforms his home into a beach where palm trees flourish and no one gets sunburned. In a debonair departure from her weightier, generally biographical topics, Stanley ( Shaka: King of the Zulus ; Bard of Avon ) keeps tongue firmly in cheek with her low-key, deceptively matter-of-fact prose. Primavera's ( Ralph's Frozen Tale ) evocative illustrations are a veritable picture-book weather barometer--her contrasts of December's gloomy grays with Moe's festive oranges, yellows and sea greens, convincingly suggest chilliness and summer sunshine. Anthropomorphic Moe rapidly adjusts from disgruntled working class hound to laid-back and friendly beachcomber. Although dumping sand on the living room floor may be a bit extreme, this happy-go-lucky narrative suggests that life can indeed be a beach. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)