cover image Hickory Dickory Dog

Hickory Dickory Dog

Alison Murray. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6826-6

Hat tip to Mother Goose: Murray (Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten) uses one of the most familiar nursery rhymes to introduce Rufus, a dog who’s determined to be a constant companion to his young owner, Zack, from wake-up to bedtime. Why should a little thing like school and a “NO DOGS ALLOWED” sign come between two buddies? With nary a supervising adult in sight to protest or eject the increasingly scruffy Rufus, the dog wriggles through a fence and joins in the kindergarten fun. Art class is “make-a-mess heaven,” and lunch is divine: “Hickory, lickery, lunch,/ Some yummy food to munch./ The clock strikes noon/ Zack’s dropped his spoon!/ Hickory, lickery lunch.” Murray’s digital pictures have the cheery colors, simple shapes, and straightforward exuberance of 1950s illustration. Rufus, fashioned out of an almost continuous scraggly brown line and filled in with mustardy yellow, is the very picture of canine devotion. Analog clocks pop up throughout the spreads, offering visual cues (and subtle nudges) to those on the threshold of knowing how to tell time. Ages 2–5. (June)