Circle Dogs

( 2 )

Overview

The circle dogs live in a big, square house with a big, square yard. See the dogs? See the circles? Mama calls them pooches. Papa calls them hounds. I'm a dog! says Big Sister. Baby is, too. And even the youngest reader will want to wiggle and bounce and dig through the day with the circle dogs....until it is time for bed. An inspired collaboration, a new take on simple shapes, a story to read again and again.

Bravo Henkes and Yaccarino!

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Overview

The circle dogs live in a big, square house with a big, square yard. See the dogs? See the circles? Mama calls them pooches. Papa calls them hounds. I'm a dog! says Big Sister. Baby is, too. And even the youngest reader will want to wiggle and bounce and dig through the day with the circle dogs....until it is time for bed. An inspired collaboration, a new take on simple shapes, a story to read again and again.

Bravo Henkes and Yaccarino!

Circle dogs live in a square house with a square yard and spend a busy day eating circle snacks, digging circle holes, and sleeping.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Henkes, who spoke to an elementary-age audience in Owen and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, here gets down to basics with this lively description of a day in the life of two dachshunds. The tube-shaped dogs -- one rust-orange with black ears, the other vice versa (both have blue noses and collars) -- form circles while they are resting. At dawn, they uncurl and greet a mother, father, little girl and baby boy ("clink-clank,... clink./ Hear their tags?/ Mrooon, mro-o-o-o-on./ They stretch and stretch and moan and yawn"). The story follows a morning-to-evening sequence of mealtimes, playtimes and naptimes, and comes full-circle, as it were, with the dogs bedded down for the night. Henkes infuses even this simplest of texts with humor: at breakfast, "Papa drops his toast./ Oops! Where did it go?/ The circle dogs know." He balances full sentences with fragments, and punctuates the story with the everyday sounds of barking, crunching and doorbell-ringing. Yaccarino's (Goodnight, Mr. Night) opaque, geometric graphics and limited gouache palette complement the concise statements. Squares and rectangles form window views inside and outside the house, and hem in the fluid shapes of the dogs and people. Author and artist judiciously repeat imagery and phrases ("Mama calls them pooches. `Those pooches!' says Mama"); and the diversity of words and sentence structures ensure a book that runs circles around the usual primer.
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
Perfect for bedtime reading, this clever book introduces young readers to two circle dogs that live in a big, square house. From beginning to end, this delightful book entertains and teaches important concepts such as colors and shapes. Kevin Henkes uses simple language to describe the daily routines of a family and their two lively dogs. When the alarm clock rings, the pooches wake up, dispense kisses, and run, jump and bounce their way through an exciting day filled with playing, eating and sleeping. Pet-loving families will enjoy this charming picture book.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A love letter to dachshunds, called "circle dogs" because of their ability to form that shape with their bodies. The text is simple, almost primerlike, with lots of onomatopoetic words: "Circle dogs like circle snacks-crunch, crunch, crunch-right from your hand." The pooches play, dig holes and get yelled at, sniff Baby's face and lick Big Sister's, bounce, bark, and sleep a lot. The lively gouache paintings in large flat areas of color have a retro look, somewhat reminiscent of Lane Smith's work in The Happy Hocky Family! Viking, 1993 or Yaccarino's illustrations for Laura Godwin's Little White Dog Hyperion, 1998. Besides the circles made by the dachshunds, there are lots of other shapes to pick out in the pictures. Fun for the youngest dog lovers.-Pam Gosner, formerly at Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ
James McMullan
. . .[A]n evocative piece of writing that would be a joy to read aloud to a child. -- The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Shapes cavort in the form of circle dogs (long thin dachshunds that chase their tails, forming circles) that live in a big square house in this delightful book for the very young. Imitative of the early work of Margaret Wise Brown, this collaboration has the retro look, feel, and sound of her classic Noisy Book series. Yaccarino uses essentially the four-color palette of a few decades back, set against a creamy vanilla background, with a bolder, more graphic, and deliberately contemporary design that plays with the rearrangement of space to show circle dogs that clink-clank their tags and flip-flap their tails. Circle dogs dig circle holes and eat from circle bowls. They snap at the air, lick Big Sister's face, and sleep a lot in simple pictures that emphasize shape and form, with circles everywhere: the mouths of people, the tips of dog's noses, the bones of a steak, the dogs themselves. Henkes completes the goodnight tale with just the right amount of sounds for the sensory enjoyment of preschoolers. (Picture book. 2-4)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064437578
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 514,696
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is the author of Junonia, Sun & Spoon, Bird Lake Moon, and the Newbery Honor Book Olive's Ocean. He also writes and illustrates picture books, and among his many titles are the national bestsellers Little White Rabbit, My Garden, Old Bear, A Good Day, and Kitten's First Full Moon, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal. Mr. Henkes is also the creator of a series of books starring mouse characters, including the Penny books for beginning readers, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, and Owen, for which he was awarded a Caldecott Honor.

Kevin Henkes lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dan Yaccarino is an award-winning artist whose work has been featured in magazines, ad campaigns, and animation worldwide. His large-scale paintings and sculptures have been exhibited in galleries across New York City, Tokyo, and Rome. Mr. Yaccarino has written several books of his own and illustrated numerous books by other authors, including I Met a Bear and So Big!. His television show Oswald the Octopus airs on Nick Jr. He lives with his wife, Susan, and their son, Michael Dante, in New York City.

Biography

Kevin Henkes still owns some of his favorite books from childhood. "They're brimming with all the telltale signs of true love: dog-eared pages, fingerprints on my favorite illustrations, my name and address inscribed on both front and back covers in inch-high lettering, and the faint smell of stale peanut butter on the bindings," he says in an interview on his web site.

Back in his peanut-butter sandwich days, Henkes dreamed of becoming an artist. By high school, he had combined his love of drawing with a newfound interest in writing, and at age 19, he took his portfolio to New York City in hopes of finding a publisher. Young Henkes returned home from his weeklong trip with a contract from Greenwillow Books, and he's worked as a children's writer and illustrator ever since.

Henkes's style has evolved over the years to include more humor, more whimsy and a lot more mice. Though he began illustrating his picture books with realistic drawings of children, he's since developed a recurring cast of mouse characters rendered in a more cartoon-like style -- though with a range of expressions that make the spirited Lilly, anxious Wemberly, fearless Sheila Rae and sensitive Chrysanthemum into highly believable heroines. Owen, the story of a little mouse who isn't ready to give up his tattered security blanket, won a Caldecott Honor Medal for its winsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations.

Many of Henkes's mouse books deal with such common childhood ordeals as starting school, being teased and getting lost. Chrysanthemum, about a mouse whose new schoolmates tease her about her name, was inspired by Henkes's own feelings when he started school. "The book is about family, and how starting something new and going out into the world can be very hard," he told an interviewer for The Five Owls. "I remember going to kindergarten -- my grandfather had a beautiful rose garden, and he gave me the last roses of the season to bring to the kindergarten teacher the next day. I don't even remember how it happened, but an older kid took these flowers from me on the playground, and I remember coming home, feeling awful." As a grown-up, Henkes is able to translate difficult childhood transitions into stories that are both honest and reassuring. In a review of Chrysanthemum, Kirkus Reviews noted: "Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight."

Henkes has also written novels for older children, in which he "explores family relationships with breathtaking tenderness" (Publisher's Weekly). In The Birthday Room, for example, a twelve-year-old boy learns the reason for his mother's long estrangement from her brother, and helps effect a reconciliation. "Refreshingly, Henkes has given us a male protagonist who is reflective, creative and emotionally sensitive," wrote Karen Leggett in The New York Times Book Review. "Ben feels the anguish of his mother's long-simmering bitterness and his uncle's agonizing guilt. Yet at a time when it is almost a fad to blame dysfunctional families for problems, we learn that even though there are never simple answers and not many fairy-tale endings, families can heal."

Though his novels are more complex and serious than his picture books, all Henkes's works suggest an author with deep empathy for the intense emotions of childhood. As a Publisher's Weekly reviewer wrote, "Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's books of special value to children."

Good To Know

Henkes's wife, Laura Dronzek, is also an artist. She painted the cover illustration for Henkes' novel Sun and Spoon and illustrated his picture book Oh!.

Henkes has turned down requests to use his mouse characters in a television series, but some of his books are available in video form in Chrysanthemum and More Kevin Henkes Stories. The video's narrators include Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Beth Hurt.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse has been adapted into a stage play.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Wonderful Story!

    Kevin Henkes is an amazing author and partnering up with Yaccarino's illustrations make this book a wonderful read for you and your child. Your child will delight and laugh at the funny lines and the things that are said and done by the family and the dogs and the illustrations are simple, pure and allow your mind to bond with the story and the colors.
    I highly recommend this for any family, but especially a family with a dog or dogs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2004

    A great read out loud book.

    This book is really great. I am always searching for something I can read to my young crowd. Preschool children really seem to enjoy this book as well as I do. It is really difficult to find books that can be read to such young children due to their attention span. This book is short and sweet, but also has the necessary rythmic sounds that is important for children to learn to read. Overall I think this book is a great buy.

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