cover image DON'T WORRY, WAGS


Christophe Loupy, , illus. by Eve Tharlet, trans. by J. Alison James. . North-South, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7358-1849-1

Loupy and Tharlet (previously paired for Hugs and Kisses) balance humor and sympathy in this tale of a worrier par excellence faced with a truly anxiety-provoking situation. Separated from her family on her first trip to the crowded farmer's market, Wags the puppy endures a series of frights and mishaps before being reunited with her loved ones. A nanny goat and a scruffy cat each offer assistance and reassurance: " 'Don't worry, Wags. She can't be far,' said the goat." And: " 'Now, now. Don't worry, Wags,' said the cat. 'Wait here while I look for a policeman to help.' " Tharlet's full-bleed watercolors, in cheerful country hues, complement the warmth of Loupy's story: with occasional comic touches, both text and illustrations soften the pathos of the small puppy lost in a sea of human legs. In one scene, for example, the delicious scent of sausages distracts Wags from her woes; she ends up running away from the butcher with a long link of sausages caught around her neck. By the conclusion, Wags has mastered her fears; the illustrations show Wags's littermates in adorably childlike poses (including one puppy nestled atop the father's back), allowing readers to experience the same sweet relief as the protagonist. Ages 3-5. (Apr.)