Crosby (Little Lions, Bull Baiters, & Hunting Hounds) turns in a tight, polished performance in this story of a dachshund that answers the call of the wild (and then redials). Crosby's paintings display a thorough understanding of his hero's boredom--and sense of adventure. Wiener Dog lies belly up in his dog bed, watching as Granny slops another can of wet dog food into his bowl; one can almost hear him groan. So when he runs away and befriends a pack of wolves, life seems ideal. "He had a new backyard and a new water dish and new squeaky toys," Crosby writes as Wiener Dog runs through the forest, drinks from a stream, and tussles with adorable wolf cubs. Ideal, that is, until the climax of the wolves' hunt; it occurs offstage, but is clearly bloody. "Yikes!" says Wiener Dog. Crosby employs an array of techniques in his visual storytelling, from the way Wiener Dog appears to run right out of spot illustrations to the hilarious contrast between the turtleneck sweater wearing dog and the slavering wolves. This wiener's a winner.—PW
"Life with Granny had become too tame" for Wiener Dog, so, inspired by a nature documentary, he takes off to the forest, finds some new lupine companions, sheds his hand-knitted doggie sweater, and becomes Wiener Wolf. That's clearly the life for him, running with the wolf pack and gamboling with the puppies-until he discovers that the pack's energetic chase of the deer isn't just for fun but for food. That's enough to turn Wiener Wolf back into Wiener Dog and send him back home to Granny, his water bowl, and a new sweater (and the occasional outing with the pups in the dog park). While the motivations for the plot turns are somewhat flimsy, the concept of a wee little sausage dog running with the wolves is amusingly incongruous, and the text plays up the contrast in short, punchy phrases. The muddy tones of the thickly painted illustrations prevent Wiener Dog from standing out as he ought to, but his lengthy form has both authenticity and humor on its side, and the fine detailed brushstrokes for fur and foliage provide depth and texture. This would actually be an effective elementary readalone for young fans of the Kevin O'Malley school of sardonic irony, as well as being an enjoyable readaloud tale to kids who understand both the lure of the wild world and the comforts of home. DS—BCCB
Wiener Dog, a sweater-wearing lap dog who lives with Granny, feels that something is missing in his prosaic lifestyle. He is losing the wag in his tail and he doesn't know what he yearns for until he sees some wolves on TV. He hitches a ride with some campers headed for the wilderness where he meets some fearsome wolves that sense the shared DNA and permit him to run with the pack. Wiener Dog quickly sheds his sweater and transforms into the brave and daring Wiener Wolf. He proudly answers the call of the wild until he witnesses the predators' fierce hunt. He then realizes that he is just Wiener Dog and that he belongs at home with Granny. After his return, he satisfies his quest for adventure in the park, where he runs with a domestic pack. Readers will enjoy Crosby's soft, acrylic illustrations that portray the wolves in a wild, realistic way while Wiener Dog is full of human emotion. Each page is rich with details and gives readers much to explore. The minimal text perfectly complements each illustration, which makes this book a good choice for early readers. Some young listeners may find the illustrations of the wolves a bit frightening, but dog lovers will especially adore Wiener Wolf.—SLJ
Wiener Dog is a bored and pampered dachshund itching to break away from his ho-hum life in the lap of his doting owner, an old-fashioned grandmother. Watching a TV show about howling wolves is the catalyst for Wiener Dog's transformation from a meek, domesticated dog in a red sweater to his alter ego: Wiener Wolf. The adventurous dachshund hitches a ride to a state park, meets up with a pack of wolves and takes a walk on the wild side as he explores fresh territory with his new furry friends. At first, the smaller dog is intimidated by the wolves, but he loses his sweater and joins the pack, making for a hilarious juxtaposition of the little dog scrambling to keep up with the much larger wolves. The dog loses his nerve as the wolves close in on a fleeing deer, depicted on a white background with loping, snarling wolves and the little dog frozen with a horrified expression. Wiener Wolf reverts back to Wiener Dog, running right out of the illustration and hitching a ride back home to Granny. The dachshund is funny in both movement and expression, and the wild-eyed wolves are suitably scary. Dachshund owners young and old will adore this. The portrayal of Granny is regrettably stereotypical, though. Running with wolves is enticing, but coming back home is always a comfort.—Kirkus
Jeff Crosby (jeffcrosbyillustration.com) has illustrated for several notable publications, including the New York TImes, the Village Voice and Entertainment Weekly, as well as seven children's books. He coauthored and coillustrated the award winning juvenile nonfiction book, Little Lions, Bull Baiters & Hunting Hounds: A History of Dog Breeds with his wife, Shelley. The couple lives in the wilds of Colorado with their pack: daughter, Harper; shih tzu, Millie; and two wiener dogs, Baron and Fritz.