cover image Pole Dog

Pole Dog

Tres Seymour. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05470-3

For his first picture book, the author of Life in the Desert offers an unusually poignant story about a dog abandoned near a telephone pole along the highway--``Old dog, old dog, / Left by the pole dog.'' Waiting for his owners to return, the forlorn mutt endures rain, cold, hunger and even gun shots--``Won't they come for their old dog?'' Seymour writes in an easily iterative, unassuming style; his minimal narrative makes a most affecting case for the humane treatment of animals. (The upbeat ending will no doubt mitigate any potentially disturbing effects on impressionable youngsters.) A final note indicates that not all strays are as fortunate as this pooch, and recommends contacting the local Humane Society if a lost animal is encountered. Soman ( The Leaving Morning ; When I Am Old with You ) varies his customary style here with impressionistic pastel drawings that focus directly on the dog. Each page is colorfully filled inside a pale yellow frame, as the audience proceeds from a bleak opening scene to the sunny, heartwarming final spread. Ages 3-6. (Mar. )