Dex: The Heart of a Hero


Dexter the dog is so little that Cleevis the tomcat bullies him. But little Dex has dreams—big dreams. He wants to be a superhero. So he reads all the comic books he can, builds his muscles, and even orders a hero suit. Suddenly, even Cleevis needs his help! Dexter has determination, spirit, and heart as he proves, above all, that no matter how little you are, you can still do very big things.

Dexter is a little dog, but he has BIG dreams. With some studying, a ...

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Dexter the dog is so little that Cleevis the tomcat bullies him. But little Dex has dreams—big dreams. He wants to be a superhero. So he reads all the comic books he can, builds his muscles, and even orders a hero suit. Suddenly, even Cleevis needs his help! Dexter has determination, spirit, and heart as he proves, above all, that no matter how little you are, you can still do very big things.

Dexter is a little dog, but he has BIG dreams. With some studying, a whole lot of muscle building and a brand-new hero suit, Dexter becomes SUPERDOG! Before he knows it, everyone is asking for his help. Dexter's determination and spirit prove that no matter how little you are, you can still do very big things.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The husband-and-wife team who brought you Snowmen at Night and It's a Spoon Not a Shovel spin a high-flying tale about a dachshund with dreams of being a superhero.

Dexter, a dog who "looked like a plump sausage sitting on four little meatballs," can't seem to get the respect he deserves. All of the neighborhood animals mock him due to his size, especially Cleevis, a tomcat who likes to "stand right over Dex and not even ruffle his fur." But Dexter aspires to be a superhero, and after some serious training, the dynamic doggy is pumped up, outfitted accordingly, and ready for action. Everyday superhero business keeps Dexter plenty busy, but when Cleevis gets stuck in a high tree branch, the locals call on him for help. Never fear! For the pooch enlists the animals' help to save the howling feline, and he even gets a sidekick to boot.

With riotous energy and laugh-out-loud illustrations -- Mark Buehner has hidden various animals in the pictures, too -- this book wins a blue ribbon. Dexter's hilarious facial expressions alone are worth the read, and the can-do message will let kids know that anybody can be a hero with the right attitude. Superdog will make your spirit soar! Matt Warner

Washington Post
“Mark Buehner’s energetic illustrations…are full of bright colors and humorous details.”
The Washington Post
In Superdog: The Heart of a Hero...husband-and-wife team Caralyn and Mark Buehner follow Dexter's entertaining journey from pipsqueak to power-pooch...Mark Buehner's energetic illustrations, some of which are designed to resemble comic book panels, are full of bright colors and humorous details. Readers will also enjoy finding a slew of tiny animal shapes hidden in the artwork.—Jessica Bruder
Publishers Weekly
Not a bird, not a plane, but a super-determined dachshund named Dexter steals the show in the Buehners' (Snowmen at Night) picture book. Short of stature, Dex endures rude indifference or energetic taunting from the other pooches in the neighborhood as well as the bullying ringleader, a tomcat named Cleevis. But deep inside, Dex believes he has the heart of a hero, just like the characters in comic books and movies. The humble pup embarks on a rigorous training regimen and mail-orders a hero suit-complete with cape-to go along with his new buff body and attitude. Soon Dex's helpful feats earn him respect, gratitude and happiness-and the opportunity to show Cleevis how it's done. Caralyn Buehner's feel-good tale has a triumphal, never-smug tone that will strike a chord with underdogs everywhere. Mark Buehner infuses his velvety oil paintings with characteristic humor and warmth. He adds a few dashes of comic-book-style text blocks and panel art to underscore the superhero theme. Scenes of Dex flexing his muscles, panting during his sidewalk runs or sporting his green-and-red superdog outfit are laugh-out-loud funny. Elsewhere, shady brownstone stoops and colorful city storefronts and streets add extra flair to this dynamic effort. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Dexter the dachshund is little in every way and as a result takes the brunt of bullying from the other dogs and from Cleevis the tomcat. In an effort to attain his dream of being a hero, he embarks on a fitness regime that he adheres to with tenacity that leaves him "faster than a rolling ball, stronger than the toughest rawhide, able to leap tall fences in a single bound!" Buffed and beautiful his look is complete with the arrival of his red suit with the shiny green cape. The crusading Dex, exuding confidence, springs into action at the first sign of trouble and helps small dogs cross the street, pulls a rat from a live wire, and finds a lost kitten. Still he cannot shake the taunting of Cleevis and his rowdy friends until the night when a call of alarm goes out...Cleevis is stuck in a tree! Ever the super hero Dex proves that the little guy can come out on top in this droll little story that never lets the message get in the way. Bold illustrations that capture his humiliation and triumphs are filled with hidden cats, rabbits and even a Tyrannosaurus Rex. You cannot help but cheer for this little underdog with the great big heart. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 4 to 8.
—Beverley Fahey
Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Dexter the dachshund is an underdog-literally. Cleevis the tomcat enjoys demonstrating how he can stand right over Dex and not even ruffle his fur. What the pooch lacks in size, however, he makes up for in determination, and when he decides to stop just dreaming of being a hero and devote his life to becoming one, he is unstoppable. The first step on his journey is the library, where the poodle who assists him is wearing glasses and sports what looks suspiciously like a bun. He sets himself a strict exercise regime, pushing himself to the limit: "Even at bedtime, when he wanted to flop on the rug with his tongue hanging out, Dex forced himself to circle five extra times." He finally achieves his goal (his muscle-man poses are priceless), dons a Superdog suit, and proceeds to use his hard-earned prowess for the good of all. When he eventually comes to the rescue of a stranded Cleevis, a new partnership is formed with "twice the brains and triple the brawn." The story line may be a bit predictable, but the Buehners' considerable talents render it fresh and funny. The author has created a lovable and memorable character in the endearing and stalwart Dex, and the illustrator's retro-style artwork is charming. As in Fanny's Dream (Dial, 1996), he has added to the fun by hiding cats, rabbits, and even a Tyrannosaurus rex in the clouds and shadows. This dynamic combination of heart and humor should not be missed.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Buehners convincingly suggest that heroes, super or otherwise, are self-made. Looking "like a plump sausage on four little meatballs," Dexter the dachshund is derided by all the other pooches and even the hulking tomcat Cleevis. Determined, however, to turn his dreams of becoming a superhero into reality, he undertakes a relentless program of study and exercise, orders a form-fitting, red-and-green hero suit, and proudly takes on the work of a Hero. That could be helping a puppy cross the street, tackling a purse-snatcher, putting out a trash-can fire, or organizing a neighborhood cleanup day. Flexing stubby but well-muscled arms, Dex cuts a distinctive figure in the illustrations as he grows into his role, striding with new self-confidence through his all-animal urban community, ever ready to help those in need. In the end, he even rescues Cleevis from a tree, picking up a sidekick as a result. Faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive? No-but this low-slung role model shows the inner stuff, both to transform himself, and to rise to the challenges that come his way. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064438452
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/22/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 211,018
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Caralyn and Mark Buehner have created many charming children's books together, including Snowmen at Night, The Escape of Marvin the Ape, and Fanny's Dream. In addition to the books they have done together, Caralyn has written I Want to Say I Love You, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers, and Mark has illustrated many beautiful books for children, including Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck and Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolan. The husband-and-wife team live in Salt Lake City, Utah, with their seven children and their superdog, Carmy.

Marl Buehner has six little pilgrims of his own in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he lives with his wife, Caralyn, and their children: Heidi, Grant, Sarah, Samuel, Laura, and Jake. Mark has illustrated many wonderful children's books, including I Am the Cat by Alice Schertle and Harvy Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2010


    This is my all time favorite children's book!! I love this book. I cannot say enough good things about this book. The main character, Dex is so lovable. The story is great. My kids love this book.

    I love that there are many lessons in this book to discuss with your kids. For instance, Dex gets teases by a big tom cat yet he never stoops to the cat's level. He always acts with integrity. He has a dream and works hard to achieve his dream.

    I just plain love this book!

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  • Posted September 26, 2009


    Loved the message of determination in this book. The moral is if you work hard for what you want, you get results. The illustrations are colorfully wonderful helping the reader to imagine Dex in his neighborhood. In addition, there is an element of fitness in this book. This issue is all too real. Children are inactive and as a result are overweight. Hopefully this book encourages children to be like Dex and to get fit!

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  • Posted January 27, 2009

    "......It's Dex the Mighty Super Dog Hero!"

    My five year old loves this book. It reminds him of superman and his (much larger) dogs. He gets excited as Dex works out, grows big, strong and confident. We have taken it out, put it away and brought it back out again. My son asks for this book over and over again. He is waiting for another with Cleevis the Cat and Dex the Hero to team up. Great book. Wonderful animation, keeps his attention and "guaranteed to put a smile on your child's face"!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2005

    Great story with a happy lesson

    This delightfully written tale of an underling who decides to reach for his dreams is a lovely story. Lessons of determination, self motivation and forgiveness are all taught without being self righteous. My six year old twins both loved the book.

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