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As hard as he tries, Chowder has never managed to fit in with the other neighborhood dogs. While the neighborhood dogs are content to fetch newspapers and take walks, Chowder spends his days on the computer, dancing with his headphones, and using his favorite toy of all, his telescope. But being different makes Chowder lonely. When a petting zoo opens, Chowder is determined to make friends with the zoo animals. And with a strong kick and a flying leap, Chowder finally finds a place where he can be comfortable ...

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As hard as he tries, Chowder has never managed to fit in with the other neighborhood dogs. While the neighborhood dogs are content to fetch newspapers and take walks, Chowder spends his days on the computer, dancing with his headphones, and using his favorite toy of all, his telescope. But being different makes Chowder lonely. When a petting zoo opens, Chowder is determined to make friends with the zoo animals. And with a strong kick and a flying leap, Chowder finally finds a place where he can be comfortable being his silly, slobbery self.

Chowder is a hilarious and heartwarming story that introduces an endearing new character: a weird but completely loveable bulldog who learns to make friends by being true to his quirks.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Chowder, an English bulldog, baffles everybody with his precocious behavior. He uses the toilet and the computer, and while regular dogs chew bones, he excavates a dinosaur skeleton. His doting owners, Madge and Bernie Wubbington, tote him in a baby backpack; they "liked to think of him as quirky, but most people thought he was just plain weird." One day, lonesome Chowder spies a billboard for a megamart's new petting zoo: "All the neighborhood dogs had said Chowder belonged in a zoo, and he wondered if they were right." In bizarre events involving the supermarket and a kickball game, Chowder befriends the Critter Corral's captive pony, cow, sheep and others. With mixed results, Brown (Flight of the Dodo) invests food shopping and zoo life with excitement. He composes smooth, meticulous paintings, and softens his sculpted pencil edges with a faint acrylic fuzz. Chowder's owners are disco-era throwbacks; their dorkiness helps account for Chowder's uniqueness, although the nerd jokes and the retro palette might be lost on younger readers. Brown pictures Chowder with melancholy jowls and sad, squeezed eyes; the most sympathetic pictures show his beady eyes widening and a drippy tongue lolling happily from his bulldozer-scoop underbite. Bulldog lovers may find Chowder endearing, but despite his offbeat pursuits, he remains elusive, and the convoluted, upbeat outcome feels like wishful thinking. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Chowder, with his flattened face and his drooling tongue, is a spectacularly ugly bulldog. He is also distinctly undoggy; he loves doing things that people do, like sitting at the computer and peering through his doting owners' telescope. It is hard to make friends with other dogs, though, when you prefer to assemble bones like an archaeologist rather than bury them. When he discovers that a new petting zoo is opening, Chowder schemes for a visit, hoping to find some congenial friends there. His adventures at the Critter Corral involve a spectacular flying leap, a heroic rescue by the petting zoo animals, and, finally, a set of delightful new playmates (author-illustrator Brown says he's daydreaming of a future pet bulldog.) Browns of all varieties prevail in the acrylic paintings (even the endpapers are a rich chocolate), along with edgy bright colors, like the pigs' pinks, the teal and aquamarine of a restroom, and the offbeat green-yellow of grass and trees. This bulldog's world is full of smooth rounded shapes: Chowder himself, his chubby mistress, the farm animals, a customer on an elevator, and even the trees are pregnant ovals. A chic apartment full of hi-tech gadgets, the overwhelming size of the Food Ranch hypermarket, and simplified shapes with slick surfaces give this quirky picture book a very contemporary look. Young dog lovers will realize that the basic story is as familiar as the ongoing quest for friendship. Moral: when you're a bit weird, it's a relief to find a gaggle of like-minded friends.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Chowder is not like most bulldogs. Instead of burying bones, he busily arranges them into a skeletal formation, as an archaeologist would. He gets about town with his doting owners in the type of backpack that a toddler would ride in, and he uses the toilet like a human. His "quirkiness" leads the neighborhood canines to conclude that he would be better off in a zoo, so it is with mounting excitement that he spots the grocery store's new "Critter Corral" through his balcony telescope and looks forward to making friends there. Brown's static, acrylic-and-pencil compositions and the repetition of visual elements across the page yield strong designs. The rounded figures and precise patterning suggest a Playmobil world, with a touch of texture. The scenes depicted through the telescope are circular close-ups, framed in black. The parting shot, showing how Chowder communicates with his new friends even when they can't be together, requires a bit of visual sophistication, as does the book in general. Its wacky comedy and the quest for acceptance will best be appreciated by those who've been around the block a few times. Fans of Anthony Browne and Craig Frazier will sit up and beg for more.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The very first page of this decidedly different dog story lets the reader know that Chowder the bulldog does things his own way. There he is in his bathroom sitting on the toilet, or rather using the toilet, as the seat is up. The text states that both people and dogs "thought he was just plain weird," and that Chowder wants to fit in with his canine pals, but doesn't, due to his different interests. Chowder assembles dog bones into a dinosaur skeleton, reads the newspaper and uses a computer and a telescope. When Chowder discovers a new petting zoo (though there are no people there to pet the animals), he finds a more diverse and accepting group of animals to play with. Chowder plays new games with them on their territory, forgetting about his computer and his newspaper. Though the acrylic-and-pencil illustrations have a droll attraction, Chowder himself is not a particularly appealing character. He has mean eyes and a scary countenance, particularly on the cover, where he looks like he'd like to bite an unsuspecting reader. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316200882
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Series: A Chowder Book Series
  • Pages: 30
  • Sales rank: 337,394
  • Age range: 1 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Brown is the author and illustrator of many bestselling children's books, including Children Make Terrible Pets and The Curious Garden. He is the recipient of a Caldecott Honor for Creepy Carrots!, two E.B. White Read Aloud Awards, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book award, and a Children's Choice Award for Illustrator of the Year. Peter's website is

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2007

    Wonderful, silly book -- with lessongs -- for kids & grownups to enjoy together!

    This book is so refreshingly different and funny, not at all treacly sweet. Chowder is a dog who is very different, and so are his owners. He can't make friends with other dogs because they think he's weird. So when he sees an ad for a petting zoo opening up at the local grocery store, he decides to make friends with the animals there. Even after an initial gaff, he doesn't give up. He's resourceful and inventive, and the other animals, who are impressed, respond by being helpful and inclusive. This is one of my 4 1/2 year-old daughter's favorite new books -- and mine! -- it's a fun read, especially if you pay attention to the visual jokes! Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2007

    What a wonderful dog!

    I think Chowder is an absolutely adorable and much needed character exmaple. He shows that our differences make us unique and special. It is an important message to send to children. Especially to ever growing population of so-called personalities that teach kids that they should all be the same. Let us take our examples from something that cherishes our differences.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2007

    great book

    Chowder is a great book. My 2 1/2 year old loves it!!! He wants to read it everyday! Even my 7 year old loves the story. Chowder is a lovable dog!! Great story about finding a place to 'fit in'.

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