When George's mother tells her son to bark, he meows. She patiently explains that "Cats go meow. Dogs go arf. Now, bark, George." But he quacks! Then oinks. Then moos. Becoming less patient and more exasperated, George's mom takes him to the vet, who reaches deep down inside the errant pup, and, much to everyone's surprise, pulls out a cat! Then a duck, a pig, and finally a cow. George is cured, and barks at last! On the way home, his proud mother wants to show off her convincingly doglike son to everyone on the street. But when she says, "Bark, George," he simply says, "Hello." This is the simplest offering yet from Jules Feiffer--creator of the delightful picture books Meanwhile
and I Lost My Bear
. Still, his cartoonish drawings
are intensely expressive, alive, and hilarious. None of it will be lost on the youngest of readers who will giggle every time George fails to bark, every time the vet extracts a new animal, and at the final punchline, too. In a world of often overdone or underdone picture books, this fine Feiffer creation is just right. (Click to see a sample spread
. Copyright 1999 by Jules Feiffer. Permission by HarperCollins Publishers.) (Ages 2 and older) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
In just a few pen strokes and just a few words, Feiffer (I Lost My Bear) outlines the playful scenario of a puppy who cannot say "arf." The images are striking, with no background details or props but the unobtrusive text. In the initial spreads, a big dog and a little one face each other from opposite sides of the book: "George's mother said: 'Bark, George.' George went: 'Meow.' " As George proceeds to quack, oink and moo, his dismayed mother grimaces and puts her paw on her head in the classic gimme-a-break gesture. She takes her afflicted son to a veterinarian, who snaps on a rubber glove and decisively repeats the title command. This time, when the pup meows, "The vet reached deep down inside of George... And pulled out a cat." Feiffer reverses the old-lady-who-swallowed-a-fly plot and boosts the giddiness with every barnyard animal removed from tiny George. The pen-and-ink close-ups of the dogs and vet are studies in minimalism and eloquence, and the characters' body language registers intense effort and amazement. Rather than being black-on-white, the illustrations get a boost from cool pastel hues. This pairing of an ageless joke with a crisp contemporary look will initiate many an animated game of animal sounds. Ages 2-6. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.