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Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Doghouse, written and illustrated by Jan Thomas. Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son, 2008. $14.95 ages 3 and up

"Oh no! The ball went in THE DOGHOUSE.
Who will get it out?"

You'll be thinking that Jan Thomas is my new favorite author for young readers. I try never to say 'favorite' as there are so many wonderful writers plying their trade and offering up amazing books for our kids. But, I sure do like her work. This is the third book I have told you about this week....and don't forget the 'dust bunny' stories of earlier posts. She provides such joy for children and their parents at book sharing time!

Once again, her endpaper gives us knowledge for what is coming. Mouse, Duck, Pig and Cow are back, playing a game of kickball with a bright red ball. It sails over the heads of those waiting to kick it back to Cow and seems headed for the doghouse. The sky darkens and the wind picks up! As lightning strikes the gamers wonder who will go inside the doghouse to get it . Mouse decides that Cow will...she's big, brave and strong. Cow is uncertain. But off she goes...and she doesn't come out! Now, Pig, who is smart, wise and stinky (guffaw!)...and unimpressed with that description. Off he goes and doesn't come back. Mouse is in you know who's going next. Duck is petrified...and well, noisy! Same result. When Dog's fully fanged face appears at the doghouse door, and tells Mouse that he is having duck for dinner....well, you can imagine! I''ll leave you to discover what happens.

The characters are so charming, with their big eyes, expressive faces and thick outlines. Jan Thomas uses a bright color palette to bring them to glorious life and make them memorable for her target audience. They are perfect for a readaloud time as all listeners will be able to see them clearly and relate to their undisguised reactions to the events of the story.

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