cover image The Bookshop Dog

The Bookshop Dog

Cynthia Rylant. Blue Sky Press (AZ), $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-590-54331-6

Business is booming at Martha Jane's Bookshop, because everyone in town loves Martha Jane, the owner's dog. In fact, they love her so much that when the owner gets sick and needs a dog-sitter, fights break out over who should do the honors. Martha Jane helps settle things amicably--and nets her owner a husband in the process. It's a diverting tale, and Rylant delivers it with an understated sense of humor. Her illustrations, on the other hand, might dazzle a peacock with their loud combinations of clashing colors. As in her self-illustrated Dog Heaven and The Whales, she substitutes a faux-primitive style for a mastery of draftsmanship. Not only do the pictures fail to add anything to what's told in the text, they in fact detract from the careful crafting of the prose. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)