When Lucy is adopted from the local animal shelter, her new family thinks that they have chosen a perfect pet. And she is, right up to the minute she starts to howl, and howl, and howl some more. Treats, tricks, a soft red bed, lullabies, and even doggy therapy cannot stop her "Wah-ooo-ooo-roo!" It is the little girl who figures out that Lucy needs a comfy friend (her own stuffed animal) and Lucy who figures out that she needs as many as she can get her paws on. And then, all is well.
“WAH-OOO-OOO-ROO!” That’s the nonstop howl that Lucy, a rescued pound puppy has been emitting since arriving in her new home—and her well-meaning adoptive family is at wits’ end. In a particularly inspired touch, Barroux shows the howling onomatopoeia literally clogging the air and piling up on the floor as the confounded humans wonder: what if there’s no cure for Lucy’s misery? what if—gasp—she has to go back to the pound? This is the fourth pairing for Barroux and Ziefert, who collaborated most recently on My Dog Thinks I’m a Genius (2011), and once again they’re hand-in-glove. With luminous, naïf watercolors (Lucy is essentially one rectangle balanced on another) and restrained prose, they effortlessly balance poignancy and comedy, making the Keatonesque Lucy as sympathetic as she is enigmatic. So skillful are they in setting the scene and building suspense that when the young narrator finally stumbles on a way to end the howling (“Lucy, I think you need a friend”), a sense of joyful relief should wash over readers, much as it does for the fictional family.
Lucy may have been rescued from the animal shelter, but this pup takes time to adjust to her new, loving family.
The little girl in Lucy’s new family narrates the story of her fraught homecoming. At first, all is well as Lucy gets a tour of the house and backyard, but then the barking of a neighbor's dog scares her, and she hides under a bush. “I finally got Lucy to come out from behind the bush …That’s when the howling began.” In ensuing spreads, the family tries to comfort Lucy and quell her incessant howling. Ultimately, the girl lovingly gives up her “favorite stuffed animal,” which seems to do the trick. She tries to draw the line when Lucy wants another toy, but she gives in and then her parents add to Lucy’s collection, which amounts to, “… four dogs, two bears, two kittens, and one giraffe.” While having this bevy of toys soothes Lucy, their number leads to new trouble when she can’t find them all at bedtime. The girl helps her, though, and she isn’t at all put out, saying, “‘Good night, my perfect puppy!’” at book’s end. Throughout, cheery, cartoon-style illustrations depict the scenes with the good addition of hand-lettered text to highlight Lucy’s howling. The pages are filled with tiny iterations of "WAH-OOO-OOO," the letters filling readers’ eyes even as the sounds fill Lucy's family's home.
A sweet take on the bumps in the road home for one shelter dog.
Harriet Ziefert has been making magic with words for many years. She is the author of over 200 books for young readers. A mother of two and grandmother of five, she lives in South Orange, New Jersey.
Barroux studied photography, art, sculpture, and architecture in France at the famous École Estienne and École Boule. He went on to work as an art director in Paris and Montreal. While in Montreal, Barroux began illustrating by creating linocut images, and he is now well known for his children's book illustrations.
Jacketed hardcover. Ages 4 and up.
USA 16.99 | Canada 18.99