________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 5 . . . . November 1, 2002


Sally Dog Little.

Bill Richardson. Illustrated by Céline Malépart.
Toronto, Annick Press, 2002.
24 pp., cloth, $17.95.
ISBN 1-55037-759-0.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Alison Mews.

**** /4


...one day, a ghost pirate and his ghost dog walked right through the wall of the house and into the Littles' formal living room.

"Arf, arf, arf," said Sally Dog Little, for she knew that pirates were also likely to be burglars. "Arf, arf, arf," she said, and then for good measure she added, "Bow wow wow!"

"Burglars!" cried Papa Little. He ran into the room carrying a poker with which to poke the burglar.

"Burglars!" cried Mama Little. She ran into the room carrying a skillet with which to crack the burglar on the noggin.

"Burglars!" cried Twinkle Little. She ran into the room carrying a camera with which to take the burglars' picture, so that she would have something for Show and Tell at school.

But when they reached the living room, what did they see? Why, nothing at all.

When she moves in with the Little family, Sally Dog Little is taken aside by each family member and is instructed on how a proper dog behaves. She is eager to comply and happily settles into a life of walking with Mama, cuddling with Twinkle and remaining alert for burglars for Papa. When pirate ghosts appear and her warning barks result only in reprimands from the Littles, who cannot see the ghosts, she knows she has to take charge of the situation. Thus, with the Littles none the wiser, she helps the pirates find their buried treasure and is rewarded with a return to her peaceful existence AND a treasure of her own.

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     Malépart’s cartoon characters have exaggerated heads, especially Sally Dog Little, whose long snout and tiny eyes are comically disproportionate. They perfectly suit Richardson's offbeat tale which, although original, follows many traditional folkloric conventions. His Mama, Papa and young child are reminiscent of the three bears, especially in the repetitive structure of the trio's speech patterns. Unlike the fate of poor Goldilocks, though, this tale has a surprising twist that leaves the canine protagonist victorious. This story begs to be read aloud and is a worthy addition to any storytelling repertoire.

Highly Recommended.

Alison Mews is the Head of the Curriculum Materials Centre at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NF.


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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364