cover image Mrs. Donald's Dog Bun and His Home Away from Home

Mrs. Donald's Dog Bun and His Home Away from Home

William F. Maxwell. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-679-86053-2

Stevenson once again demonstrates his impressive gifts for imbuing animal characters with abundant personality. His watercolor illustrations are precisely attuned to novelist and New Yorker veteran Maxwell's fond tale of Bun, a dog who hangs out on ""a musty old piece of carpet'' in the back hall of the Donalds' home. When this elderly couple moves to a new house, Bun is delighted to discover an abandoned playhouse in the backyard. Maxwell seamlessly (and quite comically) transforms Bun from reasonably realistic pet to industrious home owner-the dog climbs a ladder to repair the roof and paints the shutters, trim and porch floor. In no time, Bun plays host to a pushy bunch of neighborhood dogs (one, an opinionated poodle, suggests he add a rumpus room). Before long the dogs take over his precious space, while Bun retires to a hard bench on the lawn. The put-upon pet finally posts a ""To Let"" sign and takes refuge in the big house... on his familiar piece of carpet. Text-filled pages with sophisticated sentences make this a better choice for reading aloud than reading alone. With ample help from Stevenson, Maxwell warmly delivers a comforting message-that one can go home again. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)