cover image Tiny and the Big Dig

Tiny and the Big Dig

Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Matt Myers. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-90429-2

Rinker (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site) moves from hard-at-work vehicles to an equally determined canine in a very earnest story about a dog who refuses to listen to others’ negative opinions. Tiny, a brown and white pup, sends dirt flying as he digs in search of a bone: “A big, big bone! I know it’s there!/ It’ll take some work, but I don’t care!” Despite other animals’ naysaying (“Oh, Tiny, stop! You’re far too small./ There’s nothing in that hole at all”), Tiny digs on, and his grit (both literal and metaphorical) comes through in Myers’s high-spirited ink-and-watercolor cartoons. Eventually, Tiny uncovers several bones—among them a fish bone and a trombone—before hitting pay dirt: a dinosaur skeleton that cheerfully follows him home in a peculiar closing gag. There’s no missing the message about persistence, but Rinker’s verse is leaden and even unclear at times (“Woo-hoo! Hooray! Yay! Yay! Yippee!/ And now you see how it could be”). And it’s not always readily apparent which character is talking—all of the text appears in the same black font, sans quotation marks. Ages 3–5. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)