From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2-A girl's love for her basset hound and the patience it takes to train him are explored in this funny story. Toby can do a lot of things: he can tell where a gopher is digging in the yard, he can tell if food is dropped in his dish from all the way upstairs, he even knows when it's time for his walk. Unfortunately, his owner is the only person impressed with these talents; her brother thinks the dog is "dumb" because he can't sit or roll over. She even asks neighbors and friends to give him commands in foreign languages in case he doesn't speak English, and she tries to speak "dog" by barking at him, but to no avail. Finally, she shows the pup what to do and repeats the command constantly over time. Sure enough, he gets it, convincing even the brother of his competence. The ink, acrylic, and watercolor illustrations enhance the light and humorous text, and young pet lovers are sure to relate to Toby's antics and his interaction with his family. An amusing introduction to the trials and rewards of training a pet.
Holly Belli, Bergen County Cooperative Library System, West Caldwell, NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Toby is your basic dog: ready to eat, happy to take a walk, and devoted to his owner, the little girl who narrates this amusing picture book. She is convinced that her dog is smart, even though the evidence she has for his intelligence (knowing when food is dropped into his dish, and recognizing when it's time for his walk) is pretty weak. Her brother suspects that "maybe he's dumb," a comment that colors the narrator's opinion of her sibling rather than her canine companion. When Toby finally learns to sit on command, children will cheer. Even Brother yells, "He's a smart dog." Toby's girl concludes, "I guess my brother's not so dumb after all." The understated humor of the text is amplified by the buoyant spirits of Kelley's amusing illustrations. Black-ink drawings, vividly tinted with watercolors and acrylics, bring humor even to the most deadpan lines in the narration. A warm, witty picture book celebrating the mutual devotion of dogs and their owners. Carolyn Phelan
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