Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda


Bob never knew he was a human boy, after being abandoned outside a beauty parlor and then raised by a bunch of dogs. He barked at businessmen and burrowed under bushes. Fortunately for Bob, dimple-faced Dorinda, a distressed damsel down on her luck, found him and taught him how to be a real boy. When a bureaucratic blunder puts the town in jeopardy, only Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda can save everyone from a dreadful disaster.

Combined with Du?an Petricic's whimsical ...

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Bob never knew he was a human boy, after being abandoned outside a beauty parlor and then raised by a bunch of dogs. He barked at businessmen and burrowed under bushes. Fortunately for Bob, dimple-faced Dorinda, a distressed damsel down on her luck, found him and taught him how to be a real boy. When a bureaucratic blunder puts the town in jeopardy, only Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda can save everyone from a dreadful disaster.

Combined with Dušan Petricic's whimsical illustrations, Margaret Atwood's cleverly written, alliterative picture book will challenge and delight readers of all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this alliterative trifle by Atwood, who previously wielded consonants in Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut, two homeless urchins form a fabulous friendship. Bob has been "abandoned... beside a beauty parlour" by his mother, whose new hairdo leaves her "so blinded by her burnished brilliance that baby Bob was blotted from her brain." Three dogs (a boxer, a beagle and a borzoi, naturally) adopt Bob, who takes to hiding in bushes and barking. Not far off lives Dorinda, whose parents "disappeared in a dreadful disaster." Her wealthy relatives "didn't dole out a dime," make her sweep and wash ("Drat these darned dirty dishes," she curses). In ink-line illustrations washed with monochrome watercolor, Petricic color-codes Bob in warm gold and ochre, and Dorinda in lavender, pink and blue. When one child's tale of woe takes the foreground, the other can be seen in the distance, so they are never far from one another. The two finally meet, and Dorinda coaxes Bob to read and speak; together they pacify a raging buffalo that escapes from a zoo. Ultimately, Atwood restores their parents, who "bought a bungalow" for all, dogs included. Happy ending notwithstanding, the title waifs are crushed under the perversely prolific wordplay, and the excessive Bs and Ds lose their comedic zing after a few paragraphs. Ages 5-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
The familiar tales of Cinderella and The Jungle Book are tipped on their heads in this unusual, alliterative tale. Bob, as a baby, is abandoned by his mother during a trip to the beauty parlor. Subsequently, he is adopted by a band of dogs who care for him in his parents' absence. Dorinda, meanwhile, loses her parents in a tragic accident and is then relegated to the care of guardians who fill her days with drudgery. However, this spirited girl is not about to take such treatment for long. After quickly packing a bag, she heads off on her own. A deluge of rain causes her to seek shelter in the bush from which Bob is peeking out, and the pair forms a necessary alliance. Before long, Dorinda is teaching her new ally the essential elements of communication, and Bob's feral characteristics begin to dwindle. When an unlikely beast menaces the town, it is Dorinda and Bob to the rescue! Like the best fairy tales, Margaret Atwood's peculiar story has an upbeat ending. Still, readers may grow tired of the tongue-twisting required by this lengthy book. Dušan Petri?i?'s illustrations neatly separate the worlds of Bob and Dorinda into gold and purple tones. The whimsical illustrations neatly complement this outlandish story.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-As in the author's Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut (Workman, 1995) and Rude Ramsey and the Roaring Radishes (Bloomsbury, 2004), sophisticated wordplay drives this story. Bob was abandoned beside a beauty parlor as a baby. Raised by three dogs, he "barked when bothered" and would "bound behind bushes or burrow under benches." A block away, Dorinda has problems of her own. Dumped on distant relatives when her parents disappeared, she has lived a Cinderella-like existence, "dealing with dirty dishes in a disreputable dive." When Dorinda meets up with Bob, she teaches him how to talk, and together they thwart the advances of a "bewildered buffalo" wrongly labeled a begonia by a "bungling bureaucrat." The simultaneous exploits of the characters are shown in Petricic's line drawings. Color is used to great effect-Bob's scenes have a muddy gold wash and Dorinda's are rendered in purple. The witty, albeit ridiculous plot plays not only with language, but also with fairy-tale conventions. However, despite the happy ending, the relentless alliteration becomes tiresome.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First U.S. edition of another alliterative tale from the co-creators of Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes (2004). Here, Bashful Bob, abandoned as a baby and raised by a boxer, a beagle and a borzoi, meets Dorinda, dressed in dust mops and dingy dungarees by despicable distant relatives after her parents disappear. Illustrating Bob's part in browns and Dorinda's in dusky purple within the same scenes, Petricic displays the duo becoming bosom buddies who, after drawing a delighted crowd by distracting a desperate but basically benign buffalo, are happily reunited with their respective parents. Though Atwood reaches a bit in spots-"Destiny, however distressing, will not defeat me! I defy despair!" declaims Dorinda at one point-her mini-drama offers champion read-aloud potential. So be bold and don't delay. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599900049
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 11/14/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.14 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret  Atwood

Margaret Atwood is best known as the author of more than thirty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including The Blind Assassin, which won the Booker Prize. She has written several other children's books, including Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radish and Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

Dušan Petricic is the award-winning illustrator of more than twenty books for children. Petricic's work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Toronto Star. He lives in Toronto, Canada.


When Margaret Atwood announced to her friends that she wanted to be a writer, she was only 16 years old. It was Canada. It was the 1950s. No one knew what to think. Nonetheless, Atwood began her writing career as a poet. Published In 1964 while she was still a student at Harvard, her second poetry anthology, The Circle Game, was awarded the Governor General's Award, one of Canada's most esteemed literary prizes. Since then, Atwood has gone on to publish many more volumes of poetry (as well as literary criticism, essays, and short stories), but it is her novels for which she is best known.

Atwood's first foray into fiction was 1966's The Edible Woman, an arresting story about a woman who stops eating because she feels her life is consuming her. Grabbing the attention of critics, who applauded its startlingly original premise, the novel explored feminist themes Atwood has revisited time and time again during her long, prolific literary career. She is famous for strong, compelling female protagonists -- from the breast cancer survivor in Bodily Harm to the rueful artist in Cat's Eye to the fatefully intertwined sisters in her Booker Prize-winning novel The Blind Asassin.

Perhaps Atwood's most legendary character is Offred, the tragic "breeder" in what is arguably her most famous book, 1985's The Handmaid's Tale. Part fable, part science fiction, and part dystopian nightmare, this novel presented a harrowing vision of women's lives in an oppressive futuristic society. The Washington Post compared it (favorably) to George Orwell's iconic 1984.

As if her status as a multi-award-winning, triple-threat writer (fiction, poetry, and essays) were not enough, Atwood has also produced several children's books, including Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut (1995) and Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes (2003) -- delicious alliterative delights that introduce a wealth of new vocabulary to young readers.

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    1. Hometown:
      Toronto, Ontario
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 18, 1939
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ottawa, Ontario
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Toronto, 1961; M.A. Radcliffe, 1962; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967
    2. Website:

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