THE MEANEST HOUND AROUND

Fluffy, sweet, and well-bred, Freddy find himself suddenly homeless when his boy’s father decides to dump him out in the woods far from home. Freddy is not the sort of dog that one would expect to be wandering the roads out in the middle of nowhere and he’s not prepared for the rude welcome that he receives at the junkyard where he goes to find food and shelter. With snapping jaws and a ferocious bark, Spike launches himself at the fence only to find that Freddy is not frightened, only confused at the little dog’s reaction. Talking with him, Freddy realizes that he is Spike’s only hope if he’s to escape the dirty junkyard and the cruelty of his master and the first junkyard dog, Tiger. Together they manage to break Spike out of his prison; meet many amazing forest creatures; and eventually find a new family. Their adventures do not end there, as the two friends must somehow find a way to help Spike to find his trust in people and other animals again. Gently written with a sweetness that does not give way to saccharinity, this will find a home in any dog-lover’s heart. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7434-3785-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2003

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RED-EYED TREE FROG

Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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