Bailey loves school, where he is by far the most popular student. Then again, he is the only dog at Champlain Elementary School. No one can resist a dog who hangs his head out the school bus window, willing the bus to go “Faster! Faster!” or seriously considers the principal’s advice, “Try not to lick anyone today.” While the straightforward sentences tell of a day in the life of a school dog, it’s the pithy speech and thought bubbles that really bring on the giggles. Bliss’s children have an adult look to them — their heads seem a bit big and their hairstyles more grown-up than kid — which also adds humor. Children will love watching Bailey read and write, put his own spin on arithmetic, and try to trade food at lunch. Though Bailey has surprising human skills, he is still a garbage-picking, squirrel-following, tail-wagging canine. Most of the spreads have details that will be revealed upon rereading, such as the amusing book titles and a cat calendar in Bailey’s bedroom. A classmate like Bailey would make any day at school a better one.
From the November/December 2011 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.