Sent to the backyard for breaking a tick-tock-ticking toy, Sparky (an adorable but clumsy sheepdog puppy) immediately begins his favorite activity: diggety-dig-digging. Little does he know, he's about to dig up the most amazing toy ever--a magic bone! With one bite into that sparkling bone, Sparky is magically transported to London, where he makes new friends, sees the sights, and gets into a bit of trouble. Join Sparky on his adventure to see how he escapes and makes it back ...
Sent to the backyard for breaking a tick-tock-ticking toy, Sparky (an adorable but clumsy sheepdog puppy) immediately begins his favorite activity: diggety-dig-digging. Little does he know, he's about to dig up the most amazing toy ever--a magic bone! With one bite into that sparkling bone, Sparky is magically transported to London, where he makes new friends, sees the sights, and gets into a bit of trouble. Join Sparky on his adventure to see how he escapes and makes it back home!
This high-energy first tale in the Magic Bone series features Sparky, a rambunctious and perennially hungry sheepdog who narrates with comical dog-speak and rowdy sound effects. Banished to the backyard by his “two-leg,” Josh, after a couple of accidents indoors (“Wiggle, waggle, yikes! There goes the tall, skinny glass water bowl Josh keeps on the table”), Sparky unearths a magical bone that transports him to London. A dogcatcher captures Sparky and throws him in the pound, but he and a friendly older dog escape and enjoy the sights—and street food—of the city before Sparky returns home. In addition to channeling the id of her canine hero, Krulik (the George Brown, Class Clown series) adds a light travelogue element to the story, as Sparky shares a humorous, puppy’s-eye view of London attractions; capsule historical notes close out the book. Braun (Toot and Pop!) contributes cartoon illustrations (not all seen by PW) on nearly every page, which easily match Sparky’s enthusiasm and excitement. Sparky’s bone takes him to Hawaii in Catch That Wave, due simultaneously. Ages 7–9. Illustrator’s agent: the Bright Agency. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Sparky is a rambunctious pup who breaks things while running around the house, digs holes in the yard, and tries to stay in the good graces of his person, Josh. In one confusing scene, Sparky is transported with a "Kaboom!" from his backyard to England. Later, readers learn that he wound up in London after chewing on a magic bone. He has a series of madcap adventures that include urinating in front of Buckingham Palace and landing in the midst of a picnic, where he gobbles sausages and overturns plates of food. A dogcatcher takes him to a pound, where he escapes and is transported back to Josh. Detailed illustrations capture the action in this early chapter book. Some readers may enjoy the slapstick plot and the sights of London described from a dog's perspective, but those who liked the realistic conflict infused with magic in Krulik's "Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo" series (Grosset & Dunlap) will long for a bit more substance in this offering.—Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI
Magical travel, doggy style. When Sparky, a yappy mutt, unearths a magic bone, he is transported to Buckingham Palace. There, he quickly befriends a bossy corgi who helps him navigate the new terrain. Though the story is told in Sparky's ingenuous first-canine voice, it's clear that Sparky is a less-than-obedient dog. Young readers will revel in his naughtiness, especially when he upbraids his appendages for causing all his troubles. Eventually, he is captured and sent to the pound and escapes again, this time with new dog pal Watson, a forlorn little mongrel. Together, they find the bone again and test out the magic. The dog's point of view wears thin in spots, especially when Sparky sinks into potty talk: "tooting" when eating beans and sniffing a human's behind. Calculated to capture the Captain Underpants crowd, these diversions interfere with the dog voice and detract from the true humor of the story. The constant reference to humans as "two-legs" when Sparky seems to have a good command of other vocabulary seems forced, as well. Black-and-white illustrations grace most spreads and add smiles and energy. Emerging readers, especially dog lovers, will find this light fare easy to read but not particularly meaty. Not much to chew on here. (London facts) (Fantasy. 5-8)