Bad Dog, Dodger!

Overview

On his ninth birthday Sam is given what he wants most of all -- a puppy. Sam names him Dodger. The whole family loves Dodger, but Dodger does get into trouble sometimes -- like when he knocks the trash all over the kitchen floor, or chews a big hole in Sam's baseball cap, or jumps into the tub when Sam's older sister is taking a bath. "Bad dog, Dodger!" Sam scolds him each time. "He's not bad. He just wants to play," Sam's father says.

Then the Little League baseball season ...

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Overview

On his ninth birthday Sam is given what he wants most of all -- a puppy. Sam names him Dodger. The whole family loves Dodger, but Dodger does get into trouble sometimes -- like when he knocks the trash all over the kitchen floor, or chews a big hole in Sam's baseball cap, or jumps into the tub when Sam's older sister is taking a bath. "Bad dog, Dodger!" Sam scolds him each time. "He's not bad. He just wants to play," Sam's father says.

Then the Little League baseball season begins. In the very first game, when Sam is up at bat, Dodger comes flying onto the field and runs off with the bat! Sam knows something has to be done or he may not be allowed to keep Dodger, so he starts Dodger's serious obedience training.

How Dodger becomes an honorary member of Sam's team is the happy climax of this funny story that -- with Adam Gustavson's humorous, full-color pictures -- will delight all Little Leaguers and their parents as well.

Nine-year-old Sam decides to teach his new puppy to behave, but not before Dodger has scared his sister, pulled down some curtains, and stopped a baseball game.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Sooner or later, the irresistible urge to own a dog surfaces in every child's life. For Sam, that longing hits at about eight years old. Just as universal is Sam's parents' reply when he asks to have his own dog: "When you can take care of it yourself." Sam sets out to demonstrate that he can. He cleans his room, puts away his sports equipment, and hangs up his hat. Then he goes the extra miles—he stops scaring his sister and even finishes his broccoli with gusto. So, on his ninth birthday, Sam receives Dodger, a lovable but undisciplined puppy. Can Sam train Dodger to become a good dog? What about Dodger's chasing the ball, or worse, taking off with the bat at Sam's ball games? Abercrombie's sparse, well-written text combined with Gustavson's appealing illustrations help to make this a charming picture book for any young child who wants a dog of her or his own. Especially attractive is the fact that Dodger isn't a purebred but a good old all-American mutt. 2002, Margaret K. McElderry Books,
— Judy Crowder
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-A well-written, charmingly illustrated story with a satisfying, happy ending. Sam wants a dog so much that he eats his vegetables, cleans his room, and otherwise proves that he is a worthy young dog-owner-to-be. On his ninth birthday, his wish comes true. Unfortunately, Dodger is afflicted with puppy fever and accordingly wreaks havoc at home and on the Little League field, so he might have to be sent to a family who can give him the attention he craves. Determined, Sam arises early each morning to spend time training him, ultimately saves the day and his dog, and hits a home run for his team, which accepts Dodger as its mascot. The clean, simple writing is without a superfluous or false word, and the well-worn story line emerges fresh and crisp. Furthermore, it works both as a picture book for preschoolers and as a beginning reader. The color illustrations in oils are realistic, warmhearted renderings of a white, middle-class American family. Dodger is especially well depicted as a quirky but lovable puppy that dog lovers of all ages will find irresistible.-Dorian Chong, San Jose State University, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sam wants a dog, but his parents insist he is not yet responsible enough to have one. Sam tries very hard to show his parents how good he can be by cleaning his room, eating his vegetables, and hanging up his hat. Finally, on Sam's ninth birthday his wish is granted. He is given a soft, black puppy he names Dodger. Dodger proves to be a handful of rambunctious energy. He knocks over the garbage and chews up Sam's baseball cap, making Sam ". . . so mad he almost cried." Even when Dodger gets relegated to the backyard, he creates mischief by following Sam to school and knocking over the hamster cage. When Dodger upsets Sam's Little League game by running off with the bat, it becomes clear that something must be done. Faced with giving Dodger away, Sam gets motivated. He rises early in the morning and begins a daily practice of training Dodger. Their hard work pays off, for at the next Little League game, Dodger proves himself more fun than trouble. Supported by full-bleed oil paintings in lush, enveloping colors, Gustavson's (Where the Big Fish Are, 2001, etc.) talent lends warmth and depth to this work. Dodger is painted with the please-love-me quality of an irresistible shaggy dog. With text enough to keep an early reader busy, this is a perfect cautionary tale for a youngster about to get a first dog. Abercrombie (Michael and the Cats, not reviewed, etc.) illustrates without pedantry that a well-trained dog makes life happier and more harmonious for humans and canine alike. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689837821
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Abercrombie has written several books for children. In addition she has taught classes in creative writing and has worked as a chemical-dependency counselor. She has also acted on Broadway and on television. Bad Dog, Dodger! is her third book for the McElderry imprint. Ms. Abercrombie lives in California.
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