“An open-ended story that creates a great starting point for meaningful discussion with young children about bullying and inclusion.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
A grumpy and lonely little dog at the animal shelter decides to take matters into his own paws in this though-provoking and sublime picture book from the award-winning author and illustrator of The Boss Baby!
Little Brown is one cranky canine because no one ever plays with him at the animal shelter. Or maybe no one ever plays with him because he is cranky. Either way, Little Brown decides today is the day to take action, so he takes all of the toys and sticks and blankets from all of the dogs at the shelter and won’t give them back. But what will happen now?
Marla Frazee was awarded a Caldecott Honor for All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Picture Book for her wordless book The Farmer and the Clown. She is the author-illustrator of many books, including The Boss Baby, the book that inspired the DreamWorks Animation film Boss Baby. She has illustrated many acclaimed picture books, including God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant; Stars by Mary Lyn Ray; and Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers. She is also the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Clementine chapter book series by Sara Pennypacker. The mother of three grown sons, she lives in Pasadena, California. Visit her at MarlaFrazee.com.
PreS-Gr 2–Little Brown feels isolated at the dog park. The other dogs play and communicate with one another while he sits alone next to the chain-link fence. Frazee poses the conundrum: is his grouchiness the reason he’s left alone or does being friendless put him in a perpetually bad mood? Fed up with being ignored, Little Brown suddenly and methodically seizes all the toys the other animals have been enjoying. Astounded at his actions, they all sit and stare at him in confusion as he perches, King of the Mountain–style, on top of his toy-hostage haul. Illustrations in gouache and black Prismacolor are in muted shades of gray, tan and rust. Thought bubbles let readers in on the dogs’ bewilderment and indecision on what to do about their situation. And their decision is classic. The endpapers show every one of the 17 dogs pictured and labeled with its name, except for Little Brown whose photo has a question mark attached to it. VERDICT An open-ended story that creates a great starting point for meaningful discussion with young children about bullying and inclusion.–Maryann H. Owen, Oak Creek Public Library WI
– School Library Journal STARRED REVIEW, November 2018
Frazee interestingly leaves the conclusion open-ended, with no dog managing to break the standoff....offers easy discussion prompts (the dogs’ questions could be posed to the audience verbatim) for some empathy-building and social consideration, while the adults can consider larger political symbolism. Frazee’s pencil and gouache illustrations draw on a somber earth-toned palette, and poor hunched-over Little Brown is the picture of unhappy distrust as he lurks against the chain-link fence. The absence of humans to bring higher authority emphasizes the playground aspects of the scene, and kids who’ve struggled to negotiate interpersonal dynamics there will find this a useful invitation to talk them through.
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