cover image Little Brown

Little Brown

Marla Frazee. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-2522-3

It’s another day at the dog park. “The big dogs chased balls,” writes Frazee (The Farmer and the Clown). “The small dogs ran around in circles. The old dogs napped together in the shade. The young dogs got muddy.” And then there’s Little Brown. With a powerful stink-eye and his back curved in resentment, he sits alone by the fence and seethes. He’s been cranky for so long that nobody knows which came first: is he that way because he’s lonely and ignored, or did his crankiness drive the other dogs away? When Little Brown finally acts out by swiping all the toys in the park—he sits on top of the pile, a canine king of the hill—the remaining hounds wonder how to respond, and so does Little Brown. No one steps in to resolve the standoff, the rain arrives, and all the dogs head home with the vague hope that “Maybe tomorrow... they would know what to do.” It’s not much in the way of a balm, but the book sensitively and successfully handles the idea that social dynamics can become difficult over time. Ages up to 8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. [em](Oct.) [/em]