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Review of Barkus

Barkus
by Patricia MacLachlan; illus. by Marc Boutavant
Primary    Chronicle    56 pp.
6/17    978-1-4521-1182-7    $14.99

When globetrotting Uncle Everton sets off on a new voyage, he leaves Barkus — the “smartest dog in the world” — with Nicky and her family. In five brief chapters, Barkus and Nicky change the classroom dynamics at school, host a canine birthday party, find a kitten, and camp out in the backyard. Friendship and family are at the heart of this easy reader, with its large text, sizable line spacing, and occasional words and phrases in bigger font for emphasis. MacLachlan’s first-person narrative gives the story a homey feel, as if readers are being welcomed into the characters’ inner circle. Boutavant’s bold, vivid hues pop atop solid-colored backgrounds. Near book’s end, Nicky cleverly retells hers and Barkus’s escapades in a two-page summary that’s designed to resemble a rebus puzzle. After finishing this first book in a projected series, fans of Mercy Watson and similar animal stories will be begging for more.

From the July/August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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About Elisa Gall

Elisa Gall is the Youth Collection Development Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library in Illinois.

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