cover image Cromwell


Barney Saltzberg. Atheneum Books, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31282-3

Cromwell is a puppy who wears clothes, reads aloud to his siblings, drinks milk from a cup and digs with a shovel. An unusual dog, and the artwork portrays him as such; the reader expects a great deal of him and his story. When a man named Arthur chooses Cromwell to live with him, the pup is sad to leave home and disappointed to be sleeping on a mat on the floor, like an ordinary dog, rather than in a bed with a quilt. The one plus: Arthur plays the cello, and Cromwell loves the music and warms to his new home. Saltzberg's story is promising, but it becomes static and loses feeling when Cromwell gets caught in the cello, is extricated, and finally makes a cello of his own. The ending, though clever, is contrived. (48)