cover image Pawcasso


Remy Lai. Henry Holt, $21.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-77448-4

Every Saturday morning, a dog with a silky light brown–spotted white coat, “toffee eyes,” and “a galaxy of freckles” carries a basket in his mouth and walks across town to shop at each business of the South Redhart Shopping Circle—all without an owner present. One morning, the canine crosses in front of 11-year-old Joanna “Jo” Lin’s window. Curious, Jo, an overall-wearing child with short dark hair, follows the pup on his errands, and is mistaken for his owner. Dubbing the dog Pawcasso, Jo who’s also navigating feelings about how her father’s overseas work keeps him away for long spans, agrees to bring the dog back for a weekly painting class at the town’s bookshop. But misunderstandings about being Pawcasso’s human pile up, and Jo is soon entangled as the town divides into two camps—the Picassos, who support Pawcasso traversing unleashed, and their naysayers, the Duchamps. In full-color art, rendered in sure strokes and a mellow palette, Lai (Pie in the Sky) tenderly crafts a tale of friendship, loss, and the risks involved in letting people in, encouraging readers to love deeply: “Sometimes we can’t help how we feel because the heart is like a puppy who does whatever it wants.” Ages 8–12. [em](May) [/em]