Courtney by John Burningham, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble


by John Burningham

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Burningham's ( Hey, Get Off Our Train! ; Granpa ) insouciant tale opens as two children beseech their parents for a dog. Although the adults insist that such a pet needs a great deal of care, they breezily give in (``Oh, very well then, if you must.''), provided that the kids choose a ``proper dog. One with a pedigree.'' Instead, the youngsters decide on an old mongrel named Courtney who, as it turns out, is no ordinary canine. Soon after arriving, he slips away and returns lugging a huge pink trunk. From it he pulls a chef's hat and proceeds to cook up a meal. Donning a waiter's jacket, Courtney serves the food in style, and then plays the violin while the family dines. This astonishing pet goes on to display great bravery when he saves the baby from the family's burning house. Like the siblings featured here, readers may be distressed when Courtney and his trunk disappear one day, but the tale's cleverly cryptic ending implies that the heroic dog has not really abandoned his adopted family. A caveat: though intentionally sketchy, Burningham's art on some pages seems unfinished. Ages 4-7. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
The children want a dog, and despite their parents' admonition to bring home "a proper dog," they return from the Dogs's Home with Courtney. No one knows where Courtney came from, and he certainly has no pedigree. However, he turns out to be a fabulous chef and a great help around the house. He disappears as mysteriously as he arrived, but the family soon learns that Courtney will always be with them in spirit.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-When the children want a pet, their parents reluctantly send them to the Dogs' Home with the instructions to adopt one with a proper pedigree. The children, who follow their own counsel, have only one requirement: they want a dog that nobody else wants, one that will not easily find a home. The canine that fills this requirement is Courtney, an old, unwanted mongrel who proves to have a long list of unexpected capabilities. He wins grudging approval from the parents by cooking, playing the violin, and entertaining the baby. When he disappears, their disapproval of his undocumented lineage is confirmed (``If they are not thoroughbreds, you cannot rely on them''). During a summer boating accident, when the children are dangerously set adrift in the sea, they are miraculously towed ashore by something or someone the adults cannot quite see. Of course, readers may guess, or, if they look closely, they may even see the deliverer. This is all typically assured Burningham at his ironic best: the deadpan, unregenerate parents; the sagacious youngsters; and a dog who looks a bit like Groucho Marx. The artist's expressive, broken-line cartoons convey his wit. His spreads, full of white space and unsaturated colors, express a lightheartedness well suited to a message of the triumph of simple, childlike acceptance-a message ever so gently delivered with successfully sly humor.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Hazel Rochman
Burningham's picture books are often about lonely children who get little sympathy from adults. The children in this story want a dog. They nag their irritable, fussy parents, who eventually give in, provided "it's a proper dog. One with a pedigree." But the children bring home Courtney, an old, scruffy mongrel that no one else wants. The parents are appalled, though they do soften when Courtney cooks, cleans, plays the violin, and even saves the baby from a fire. But when he disappears one day, the adults are quick to blame him for not being a reliable "thoroughbred." He never returns, but then the children are mysteriously rescued at sea 20. 20. 20. Burningham's economical line drawings, with understated color and lots of white space, allow you to fill in the depth of feeling and character in the story. The fantasy is wonderfully matter-of-fact. The adults are so narrow, the dog so world-weary and competent. This pet is the stranger-guardian we all long for, to help us through the storm at sea and protect the walls of home.

Product Details

He Ying Chu Ban She/Tsai Fong Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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