cover image The Great Dog Wash

The Great Dog Wash

Shellie Braeuner, , illus. by Robert Neubecker. . S&S, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-7116-0

Debut author Braeuner is doubly fortunate: she won the Cheerios New Author Contest and got Neubecker (I Got Two Dogs ) as her first collaborator. The end result, however, is mixed. Readers will appreciate how their fictional peers run the dog-washing enterprise with no help from grownups—although there are comic mishaps, these kids clearly have their act together. But Braeuner's predictable wordplay and rhymes don't do much to convey the giddy fun of an enterprise that involves hoses, soap and shaggy, rambunctious pets: “Slippery, slobbery,/ do a good jobbery./ Wash all that dog smell away.” Neubecker tackles the material with the confidence of a pro. While he's always been good at conveying the bustle and telling details of a crowd, he's even better here when he fills a spread with a limited number of large-scale figures engaged in a focused action: two kids and four sundry dogs in full gallop, a trio of kids hosing down a towering but eager pooch. Ages 2–6. (July)