cover image The Great Big Scary Dog

The Great Big Scary Dog

Libby Gleeson. Tambourine Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11293-6

Although this Australian import seems intended to empower its audience, it offers poor--even contrary--advice. An older brother describes his little sister, Jen, who's terrified of a neighbor's big dog. The parents make suggestions (including the foolish recommendation that she ``look the dog in the eye''), but Jen and her Asian friend, Diep, find inspiration in Diep's preparations for a New Year celebration. Masquerading as a roaring dragon, the children scheme to ``scare the dog out of its wits.'' Although dressing up in a spooky costume and taunting a dog is more likely to provoke it than to win its friendship, the dog in this story is unfazed and even wants to play with the masked marauders. Greder's loose, sketchy watercolors are engaging, but the clever child's-eye view that graced Uncle David is absent. He places a disproportionate emphasis on the costume itself, so that the reader sees much more of the ``dragon'' than of the children. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)