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The Paperboy


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About the Author

Dav Pilkey has written and illustrated numerous popular, award-winning books for children, including the Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies series; DOG BREATH, winner of the California Young Reader Medal; and THE PAPERBOY, a Caldecott Honor Book. He lives with his wife in the Pacific Northwest. Visit him online at www.pilkey.com.


Pilkey (When Cats Dream; the Dragon books) is at his best in this highly atmospheric work. Here his trademark color palette glows quietly under the cover of darkness; violet skies and emerald-shadowed fields predominate until the explosion of a fiery dawn. Early one cold morning a boy and his dog rise to deliver newspapers. In almost reverential silence they eat breakfast, prepare the newspapers, then step out into the chill, leaving sleeping parents and sister inside. Pilkey perfectly captures the thrill of being out early, seeing the world so new and having it all to oneself. Something magical is at work on this most ordinary of paper routes, tangible in the controlled hush of the narrative and in the still, moon-lit landscapes. And, at last, as his family awakens to golden sunlight, the paperboy returns to his bed, prepared to enter another familiar Pilkey world: dreamland. Ages 4-10. (Mar.)

Gr 1-3‘A quiet mood piece that depicts the bond between a paperboy and his dog. Human and canine both struggle to rouse themselves, eat breakfast from bowls, and have an intimate knowledge of their route. Pilkey paints their shared experiences with a graceful economy of language. Morning is the third character in the story‘"...this is the time when they are the happiest." Deep, sumptuous acrylics portray the initial darkness, the gradual lightening, and the riotous magenta and orange sunrise. The artist has cleverly designed parallel, yet contrasting, opening and closing scenes of the African American child in bed, feet covered by his dog, room framed by a sloping roof. In the first spread, the still starry morning surrounds the house and "enters" it through the uncurtained window. When the duo return and crawl back into bed, the shade is pulled against the brilliance, the room darkened‘a scene clinching their camaraderie. A totally satisfying story for small groups or individuals.‘Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA

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