Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1093
Charming longer picture book
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
In picturesque Bloomville, a small white dog named Lucy lives in a cardboard box in an alleyway. She has a daily routine that involves going across town to get a piece of sausage that drops down from a window on a string. The little girl who provides the breakfast is Eleanor, whose father works in a grocery store but dreams of being a juggler but who freezes in front of crowds. Lucy's day continues with activities and daydreaming of her life before she because homeless. Eleanor's father tries repeatedly to juggle in front of people, but it isn't until Lucy distracts him on stage that he is able to be successful. In the end, Lucy finds a home with the attentive Eleanor.
Good Points
This is an unusually formatted book. It is essentially a picture book, in that each page has an illustration and two or three sentences of text. It is also 144 pages long. This makes it reminiscent of some older books, like Godden's The Story of Holly and Ivy (illustrated by Adrienne Adams, not the one illustrated by Barbara Cooney) or Heide's The Shrinking of Treehorn. The black and white line illustrations are even somewhat similar, although because of those books I was expecting small pops of red in the scenes, and those never appeared! The length makes it possible to give us several days of Lucy's life, which have a pleasant and predictable rhythm, which makes the change in that rhythm all the more surprising.

This is a book about longing. Lucy longs for a home, Eleanor longs for a dog, and her father longs for a career as a juggler. They all want something different, which makes this achingly bittersweet. I don't know if this will be readily apparent to the average six year old reader, but parents and teachers will certainly pick up on the theme of shattered dreams. This theme might well make this book one that resonates on a deep level with children. I foresee a lot of web searches in 30 years for "that long picture book with the little white dog and the father who juggled snow globes"!
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