cover image PUDGY: A Puppy to Love

PUDGY: A Puppy to Love

Pippa Goodhart, , illus. by Caroline Jayne Church. . Scholastic/Chicken House, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-439-45699-9

Every dog has its day, and for a pooch named Pudgy, it's the day he sees a girl named Lucy. Such is the set-up for this simplistic picture book about like-minded souls finding each other. At what appears to be a local park, several dogs and owners have a grand old time but "Nobody will play with Pudgy... and nobody will play with Lucy." The two sad misfits head their separate ways. Soon after, Pudgy decides to run away from his home "and he goes and finds Lucy," with whom he eventually stays "forever... and ever." Literal-minded readers may wonder about Pudgy's family (which seems to live in a comfortable house, judging from the table he hides beneath) and Lucy's seeming lack of same (her home and family are never pictured or mentioned). Goodhart's (Noah Makes a Boat) minimal text does little to fill in the blanks. Church's (Hungry Hen) kicky artwork features vivid watercolors and bold, black outlines on a textured background. Though the compositions do not expand much on Goodhart's prose, the spare but vibrant scenery and wide-eyed protagonists readily invite youngsters into this tail-inspired tale, which implies one friend may be all that's needed. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)