Scuba Dog

Ann Marie Stephens, illus. by Jess Golden. Bonnier/Little Bee, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4998-0143-9
Stephens uses the unlikely friendship between a dog and a whale to highlight the idea that “Sometimes friends don’t need words.” (Especially when they are underwater.) Her hero, an ocean-loving dog with white and golden fur, isn’t terribly close to his fellow dogs, who prefer rocking out on land. After meeting a whale, the dog realizes that scuba lessons might let them spend more time together: “Off to the dive shop! Hit the books, and the pool. Pass the tests. Get the gear.” Working in mixed media, Golden (The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk) brings a sweet camaraderie to the pages as the dog and whale “spin, whirl, and dive” underwater, before the whale departs. But Stephens’s clipped lines don’t draw much emotion out of the central relationship, and the story moves forward in fits and starts as the dog works on a craft project for his absent friend (and enlists the musician dogs’ help in creating a song for her, too), before eventually getting a happy reunion. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Emily Mitchell, Wernick & Pratt Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Associates. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2016
Release date: 05/03/2016
Genre: Children's
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