Bad Dog

Bad Dog

by David McPhail

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Forgiveness and love triumph at the end of this charming, easy-to-read story of a family dog who is rarely on his best behavior.


Forgiveness and love triumph at the end of this charming, easy-to-read story of a family dog who is rarely on his best behavior.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Clear, direct text focuses on Tom's many shortcomings. The pup yanks the turkey dinner off the table, knocks over the TV stand during Dad's football game, and urinates near Mom's prized sunflowers. Dialogue bubbles emphasize the family's response to the canine. As the annoyed father scratches his own leg, he says, "FLEAS! Bad dog, Tom!" However, when Tom saves the day after the cat goes missing, he gains a sense of belonging within his home. There's not a lot of fluidity to the movement of the characters, but the soft illustrations emphasize their natural reactions. Pen-and-ink and watercolor spreads set against spare backgrounds focus on Tom's interactions with each person. The repetitive text and large font enhance this selection for children just learning to read independently, and the message is always clear: "Tom is my dog./I love him when he is good./And I love him when he is bad." For all his naughty habits, Tom remains a cherished, four-legged member of his family.—Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC
Kirkus Reviews
A preschool-age boy narrates this short early reader, a straightforward story about a mischievous dog and the boy who loves him. The brown-and-white dog, Tom, creates problems wherever he goes. He yanks the tablecloth and sends the dinner to the floor. He leaves fleas in the parents' bed. He knocks over the flat-screen TV during Dad's football game. Tom even lifts his leg on Mom's special sunflowers. Worst of all, he irks the family cat, Kit, who one night escapes. Tom is threatened with eviction from the family but is redeemed when he helps the boy see where Kit is hiding. This short but complete story is told in succinct sentences with just a few words per page, often the repeated admonishment "Bad dog, Tom!" set in a speech balloon. Though this is intended for new readers, toddlers who are just transitioning into real stories will also appreciate the simple plot with its subtle message of unconditional love that endures even when someone is naughty. McPhail's gentle illustrations in pen and ink with watercolor washes are appealing as always, conveying both humor and emotion. Not every artist can convincingly portray a mother's surprise, a cat's frazzlement and a dog's laughter all in one illustration. Tom is full of curiosity, like a lot of young'uns. Not bad at all. (Early reader. 2-7)

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
I Like to Read Series
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

DAVID McPHAIL is the creator of dozens of wonderful books, including Big Brown Bear's Up and Down Day, Sisters, andMole Music, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year. He lives in New Hampshire.

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