cover image Dog Donovan

Dog Donovan

Diana Hendry. Candlewick Press (MA), $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-537-1

The seven Donovans are all scared of something, be it the dark, spiders, night noises, doctor's shots, or even, in the case of the youngest Donovan, one's own shadow. To find a dog to protect them, they visit an animal shelter, where they choose Hero, a huge, gangly cross between a wolf hound and a Great Dane. Hero, alas, proves even more fearful than the Donovans. Fortunately, in comforting their bumbling pet, family members learn to cope with their own terrors. Old Woman Donovan bravely shoos away a spider, and young Hercules reassures the trembling dog, ``A shadow is nothing to be scared of. Look! I can make mine dance!'' Though the plot is simple and predictable, Hendry's (Double Vision) dry wit and Chamberlain's (A Piece of String Is a Wonderful Thing) spry watercolors suggest the endearing bustle and bedlam of the Donovan home. Children may not understand the humor of Dad Donovan's phobia of ``letters in window envelopes,'' but they will surely enjoy Dog Donovan's small triumphs. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)