Dan Yaccarino has illustrated many books for children, including Bam Bam Bam by Eve Merriam and Little White Dog by Laura Godwin. He is also the author of the Blast Off Boy and Blark series. He lives with his family in New York City.
Yaccarino (Circle Dogs) finds an ideal subject for his smooth, lava-lamp-globular painting style: the fawn pug. According to human regulations for cuteness, Alfred the pug dog is adorable, with his oversize round head, buggy brown eyes and curly tail. Yet no people appear to provide Alfred with affection. Instead, the sensitive, anthropomorphic dog suffers the taunts of a smirking cat, a parrot who repeats the word "unlovable" and large-breed dogs (" `His mouth is too small to hold a ball,' a big German Shepherd sneered"). Alfred's only friend is Rex, the dog next door, who is too small to see over the plank fence between their yards. "I'm a golden retriever," Alfred boasts to his hidden companion, only to dread the consequences of his fib. Yaccarino, working from a springtime-fresh gouache palette, keeps everyone in suspense by concealing Rex's identity and applying time-tested elements of Cyrano de Bergerac and William Steig's Shrek! As it turns out, the blind date ends happily. Rex is Alfred's mirror image and, in the wordless concluding image, he and Alfred beam identical smiles at the disdainful cat. This amiable tale of self-confidence challenges its cruel title, and word-slinging bullies, at every turn. Ages 3-6. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
PreS-Gr 1-Poor Alfred thinks he is unlovable. The cat insists, "You've got the ugliest mug I've ever seen." Whenever the pug walks by, the parrot squawks, "Unlovable!-Unlovable!" and the goldfish gurgles in agreement. The other neighborhood canines taunt and sneer at him until he spends most of his time alone, hidden by the fence in the backyard. When a new family moves next door, Alfred makes friends with their dog. The two spend hours talking through the fence, unable to see one another. Wanting to impress Rex, Alfred fibs that he is a golden retriever. To his horror, Rex decides to dig under the fence. He discovers the pug hiding in a bush and, to the amazement of both, they see that they are exactly the same. With simple, cartoonlike gouache illustrations, Yaccarino has effectively created a sad, unlovable pug and re-created him into a bouncing, happy, affectionate pup with a look-alike, accepting pal. A well-done, convincing story of friendship and self-esteem.-Karen Land, Greenport Public School, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"A well-done, convincing story of friendship and self-esteem." --School Library Journal "Delightfully spare pictures." --Booklist