cover image MOONDOG


Alice Hoffman, Wolfe Martin, , illus. by Yumi Heo. . Scholastic, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-439-09861-8

In the eerie beginning to this "werepup" tale by Hoffman (Aquamarine ) and her son, two children discover the "garden... trampled, the porch steps chewed into splinters" and a "darling puppy" in a basket. The children artlessly name the white terrier Angel. When Angel demolishes their kitchen on a moonlit night, they follow his footprints to the home of a stock character—the witchy, misunderstood spinster—and there discover an antidote for "moondog" mania. Yet readers never witness Angel's Jekyll-to-Hyde transformation on Halloween, and what the text suggests, Heo's (Sometimes I'm Bombaloo ) naïve art fails to provide. After a howling start, this tale unfortunately ends with a whimper. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)