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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.
It could be said that Pilkey (Kat Kong; the Dragon books) never let a good story go unPUNished. From its open-mouthed mutt to its put-upon family to its climactic burglary scene, this latest entry might have been modeled on Susan Meddaugh's Martha Speaks. But Pilkey's silly tales forage unabashedly for lowbrow laughs, and his aim is usually accurate, even if adults more than kids will catch these halitosis jokes. Here, ``a dog named Hally, who lived with the Tosis family,'' emits green puffs of breath so toxic they knock Grandma Tosis out of her chair. When the Tosis parents put their putrid pet up for adoption, the Tosis kids try to save Hally: they bring her to a site with a ``breathtaking view''; to a movie (starring ``Perry O'Donnel and Giner Vitus'') said to leave audiences ``breathless''; and to a roller coaster so fast it makes riders lose their breath-to no avail. Yet a glimpse of a headline on a newspaper (called The Daily Foreshadow) and a wanted poster showing two robbers presage a happy ending: the villains visit the Tosis home and suffer the odiferous consequences. Pilkey's punchy art, characterized by heavy black outlines and bold colors, matches the clowning quality of the text (the copyright page, tellingly, lists Pilkey's preferred media as ``acrylics, watercolors, pencils, magic markers, and Dijon mustard''). Guaranteed to ward off smellancholy. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
PreS-Gr 2‘Corny jokes, plays on words, and garishly colored illustrations are Pilkey's stock-in-trade. This outrageous book continues the tradition. Hally is a fine, loving dog with horrible breath. Even skunks avoid her. When Mr. and Mrs. Tosis decide to give her away, their children try to cure the problem, but nothing works. Her days as the family pet are numbered‘until she licks the faces of two burglars. They pass out cold on the living-room floor, and Hally becomes a heroine. With clothespins on their noses, the family concludes that ``...life without Hally Tosis wouldn't make any scents.'' Two levels of humor coexist in this book, neither of them subtle. Children will laugh at pictures of people reeling from Hally's breath, while adults will groan over some of the more sophisticated puns. The simplified cartoon drawings in comic-book colors will attract many browsers. While this is a one-joke story, many children should find it funny.‘Nancy Seiner, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh