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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Poodle and Hound (Picture Book)

Released July 2009

Reviewed by Bob Walch

The three stories in this book address the vagaries of friendship. While Hound is loyal and dependable, his good friend Poodle is creative and rather impulsive. Perhaps this would not seem like a good combination but like other famous picture book combos (Elephant and Piggy, Frog and Toad, George and Martha), we know that opposites do indeed attract.

In the first story, Poodle goes to the beauty salon for a complete makeover. With her fur trimmed into pom-poms with a stunning fur ball on the very top of her head, Poodle feels a little self-conscious when she heads for home. When she walks through in the door, Hound immediately says, "You look lovely."

Poodle is shocked by the comment because she was sure he would not even notice her new look. As the two sit down to enjoy some tea and cookies Hound tells Poodle, "Nothing is ever wasted on a friend."

In "Starry Night", the second story, Hound is up on the roof gazing at the stars through his telescope. Poodle comes up to see what he is doing and quickly becomes bored with his celestial mapping. Although he is becoming exasperated by her continual interruptions, Hound puts up with his friend's commentary.

The fun begins, though, when Poodle starts making up outlandish stories about the stars. The one about how Saturn got its rings is a beauty, but I'll let you discover that for yourself.

Saving the best for last, the final story is about the summer garden Poodle and Hound create. Hound makes an elaborate and detailed plan, but it is Poodle who figures out they will need some protection from insects that will destroy their plants. Along with the Hound's veggies, Poodle plants marigolds, sunflowers, daisies and yarrow to attract the good bugs that keep the bad bugs away. This green approach means the two friends will have plenty of healthy vegetables to enjoy plus a few colorful blossoms for their table as well.

These stories underscore the fact that different individuals can not only get along but they can also complement and help one another. The narrative and vocabulary is manageable for young readers who are ready for something with a more extended story line.

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