A humorous, suspenseful twist on the vampire tale for young readers who don’t mind horror.

The Dogpyre Syndrome

From the Theater Books series , Vol. 2

Friendly neighborhood dogs become vampires in this fun but gruesome middle-grade story.

The second installment in Woolworth’s (The Kindness of Strangers, 2012) series about Winnie, a paralyzed corgi, gives readers a tale from a dog’s point of view. Winnie and her friend, a wolf named Parsi, communicate via a software program called DOGSPEAK, which was introduced in the series’ first book (but helpfully explained in an afterword here). The story begins with an animal rights activist breaking into DuPont Experimental Station and stealing a test tube carrier containing an experimental material called Phyto 710. The burglar falls and releases the chemical into the Brandywine River, where it later infects a bat. This sets into motion an epidemic of bats biting dogs, turning them into “Dogpyres.” One affected neighborhood dog, Nigel, sinks his sharp canines into Winnie’s stomach when she wanders out of her yard one day. Fortunately, Parsi is immune to the syndrome and rescues Winnie. Parsi’s “primary,” or owner, Paulette Espin, is the chemist who invented Phyto 710, so when the dogs start changing, she’s able to figure out what’s happening with the help of Winnie’s owners and other scientists. In order to track down the source of the infection, though, they need Parsi to go on a dangerous mission. This wacky story seems aimed at older children, and ends on an upbeat note. The book breaks its fast-moving plot into short, snappy chapters with titles sketched in a blood-red typeface, and colorful drawings by Carol Tippit Woolworth illuminate key details, such as Parsi’s protective K-9 suit. However, its frequent use of undefined technical terms such as “phytohemagglutinins” and “macrophage” may confuse readers, and the doggie narration sometimes becomes repetitive. Some grotesque elements, such as dismembered baby bats and a dog falling down a well and breaking his neck, may disturb squeamish readers.

A humorous, suspenseful twist on the vampire tale for young readers who don’t mind horror.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9852645-2-9

Page Count: 72

Publisher: TipWorth Press

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2016

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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