cover image Excellent Ed

Excellent Ed

Stacy McAnulty, illus. by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Knopf, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-553-51023-2

Ed, a scruffy white dog whose tail seems to be in a perpetual state of wagging, worries that he doesn’t measure up to the African-American family he lives with. The Ellis children are talented athletes, bakers, ballerinas, and more, and even when Ed hits on things that he does excel at, the children show him up. “I’m definitely excellent at breaking stuff,” thinks Ed as Sarcone-Roach (The Bear Ate Your Sandwich) shows him in the midst of a kitchen with garbage and glassware strewn across the floor. But then Elaine goes and “breaks” a soccer record. And while Ed is good at losing (objects he buries) and forgetting (to wipe his paws), the twins lose their first teeth, and Edith aces a dance audition by forgetting to be nervous. Dominated by bright yellows and grassy greens, Sarcone-Roach’s mixed-media pictures brim with familial warmth and mischievous canine energy, while McAnulty (the Dino Files series) leaves readers with the worthwhile message that it sometimes takes an outside perspective to recognize one’s strengths. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Lori Kilkelly, Rodeen Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (May)