cover image A Pup Just for Me/A Boy Just for Me

A Pup Just for Me/A Boy Just for Me

Dorothea P. Seeber. Philomel Books, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23403-3

This two-picture-books-in-one project can be begun from either cover; its two stories meet in the middle, the most obvious of the many contrivances here. Roddy desperately wants a puppy, but he is offered just about every other kind of pet instead. Why Roddy cannot have a dog goes unexplained. He pouts and sulks, then storms off to the ""Home/ where they care for stray animals that always must roam,"" and finds the pup of his dreams. On what is literally the flip side of this volume, Jet the dog escapes an abusive owner and slinks from home to home. Finally he's taken to the shelter where Roddy discovers him. First-time author Seeber awkwardly forces her language to fit her rhyme scheme, and her oversimplified portrayal of shelter adoptions short-changes readers interested in pet ownership. Young (Seven Blind Mice) arranges bright solids and marbled and tie-dye hues on black backgrounds in his playful cut-paper-collage illustrations. The effect is striking, but some compositions will confuse younger readers (e.g., the art implies that Roddy has actually received the proposed but unwanted pets). This entry adds little to the myriad titles on a heavily trafficked subject. Ages 4-8. (May)