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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mr. Putney's Quacking Dog, written and illustrated by Jon Agee. Scholastic, 2010. $21.95 ages 7 and up

"Who is snooping on Mr. Putney?
A spyena

Who is building Mr. Putney's hot tub?
A boa constructor

Which friend of Mr. Putney's has
chicken pox?

A hippospotamus"

It's tough to get the real picture without the apt and hilarious illustrations. But, this book is such fun to share with kids. I took it to some classrooms this week, and it was amazing how quickly careful listeners started chiming in with appropriate answers.

Jon Agee is adept at creating memorable characters. I have been a fan since reading The Incredible Painting of Felix Clouseau (Farrar, 1988). His books of word play delight those who love palindromes and oxymorons. His character driven picture books find fan favor at every turn. I give The Retired Kid (Hyperion, 2008) as a retirement gift at least once every year now.

His sense of humor is evident in this new set of animal riddles and will encourage listeners to stretch their thinking as they try to solve the word puzzles. With guidance and time, they will run with their own ideas and writing. Pair them up and let one do the writing and the other the illustrations. Make a list of animals and see where that list leads.

I will be sharing this time and again as we celebrate I Love to Read month, and beyond. Bravo, Jon Agee. You have done it again!

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