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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Scritch-Scratch, a Perfect Match. Written by Kimberly Marcus and illustrated by Mike Lester. G. P. Putnam's, Penguin. 2011. $21.00 ages 4 and up

went the man, and the dog
with the flea, as they trucked
through the muck till their
feet got free."

Kids are going to love this book and will want to hear it again and again! I guarantee it! For the adults who will be reading it for the first time, get your vocal chords limbered up and your lungs loaded for a huge dose of onomatopoeia....sound effects that go on and on...and on!

The poor dog is totally unprepared when the flea 'flit-flit's in and takes a chomp at his back. He howls as he jumps straight up in the air. The man just happens to be in the wrong place when the dog comes back to earth, landing on his back...poor 'old' man!

Down the hill they roll on a course set for the nearest mucky bog. A dog shaking uncontrollably, a man trying to avoid flying muck, offer hilarious entertainment for two cardinals positioned nearby. The man's plan for a walk has taken a sideways course and he decides he better help the dog. Under a thunderous sky they find their way to the general store, hoping to find a remedy. The storeowner is distraught at their appearance and wants them OUT!

And so it goes! Flea powder sends the flea in search of another body, and he finds refuge on a skittish cat's tail. As the man and dog find happiness and companionship with each other and head for the hills together, we are left to watch what happens with the cat and the lady who has been its landing place.

The sound effects and the rousing rhythms make this a brilliant readaloud for all ages. I know that the teachers I read it to, and also our student teachers, will enjoy every silly turn of the page. Mike Lester adds to the fun with his hilarious action-filled drawings, showing a crazed dog trying to rid himself of the itchy torture. The expressive faces, the ongoing motion and his sense of all the fun to be had begs for multiple visits.

I just love the double page spread that shows a blissful dog, free of the flea and sighing contentedly. Nothing more needs to be said.

What a's like being swept up in a whirlwind; but, a lot more fun!

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