Hip Hop Dog

Overview

From top dogs Chis Raschka and Vladimir Radunsky comes an uplifting tale of canine self-reliance told in acrobatic, infectious rhyme.

I'm the zoom-est and the boom-est, spread no gloom-est, say no doom-est. I'm the top-est, never stop-est, Boston Pop-est, be be bop-est. I'm the jazz-est, razzmatazz-est, dazzle dazz-est, most pizzazz-est.

Think I kinda like it as the Hip Hop Dog.

In an empowering story of an ...

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Overview

From top dogs Chis Raschka and Vladimir Radunsky comes an uplifting tale of canine self-reliance told in acrobatic, infectious rhyme.

I'm the zoom-est and the boom-est, spread no gloom-est, say no doom-est. I'm the top-est, never stop-est, Boston Pop-est, be be bop-est. I'm the jazz-est, razzmatazz-est, dazzle dazz-est, most pizzazz-est.

Think I kinda like it as the Hip Hop Dog.

In an empowering story of an underdog who finds his voice and sense of self-worth through music, here is one hip dog who starts out as a dejected mutt but finds his groove—and his place in the world—through hip hop.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—Raschka's and Radunsky's simpatico styles are at long last paired in this "doggy allegory" told in a hip-hop beat. Born into a litter of 16, the scruffy protagonist is the pup not chosen—the "saddest and the baddest." His solitude, however, facilitates his sensitivity to the sounds that permeate his urban environment, and while the "clatter makes him gladder," ultimately it's the strains of opera that motivate him to "bark it like Brunhilda." Raschka's musicality undergirds his street-savvy lingo, making the narrative fresh and lyrical. The font becomes bigger and bolder to indicate emphasis, a technique that is particularly helpful when the text spirals around the pages. "I'm the zoom-est and the boom-est, spread no gloom-est, say no doom-est. I'm the top-est, never stop-est, Boston Pop-est, be be bop-est. I jazzle dazzle like it as the Hip Hop Dog." Radunsky's caricatures of the moves of a canine version of Snoop Dogg manage to be convincing, poignant, and funny—no small feat. Loose lines, brushwork that allows the textured background to show through, and occasional bits of collage combine to create a gritty cityscape peopled with quirky personalities. This story of a neglected orphan who sings and struts his way to happiness will gladden the hearts of readers young and old.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Publishers Weekly
Raschka (John Coltrane's Giant Steps) supplies the verbal beats and Radunsky (What Does Peace Feel Like?) sets the gritty scene in this story of a down-and-out dog made good. Like many hip-hop heroes, Hip Hop Dog reports a hardscrabble youth: “I come free, but no one needs me./ ... When I'm hungry, no one feeds me.” Wearing white judo pants and a black ball cap with the brim turned back, the scruffy gray-brown mutt paces among apartment buildings. He strikes a wide, threatening stance as showy dogs circle nervously: “When I spot a Weimaraner,/ Cocker spaniel, and a Shih Tzu,/ Taller, higher, smarter, blonder,/ Makes me bite and I could spit, too.” Yet he thrives on street life, and his improvised barks, growls, and break-dances earn respect. Like visual shouts and whispers, the emphatic sans serif typeface grows, punches, shrinks, and spirals on the pages. Raschka's edgy wordplay shows the dog's aimless anger shifting to a more optimistic focus as he finds his voice, and Radunsky's crude paint scribbles convey the proud dog's defiance. Readers seeking upbeat, noncorny children's hip-hop should sample these rhymes. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Chris Raschka's affinity for hip-hop is apparent from his previous books, most of which he illustrated himself. So it is a little curious that he has been teamed with Radunsky as the illustrator for this explicitly hip-hop theme. The result is not altogether successful. Radunksy's signature style is not particularly representative of the graffiti culture. Even more problematic is that the story is a rap by a dog who clearly feels like an outsider. However, this is a dog who could work harder on both his beats and his rhymes—the characteristics that are at the heart of a rapper's skill. The first four lines show the problem—"I was born into a litter/ of 8 brothers and 8 sisters./ Friendly takers took the others;/Now I got no puppy-sitters." In true hip hop, each line breaks its emphatic beats in the same pattern and the rhymes are strong, unlike off-rhymes such as litter/sitters. Perhaps the most successful pages are the alternate spreads that really play with the graphics as they circle the page. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
Kirkus Reviews
A neglected pup raps a bravado-laced memoir that chronicles his life on the street and gradual embrace of hip-hop culture. Raschka produces a text that-yes!-completely comprehends how to handle this larger-than-life-size poetic form in a short children's text. The trochaic emphases of hip-hop's signature cadences are not only celebrated, but delivered in bold type. "You just sit and perk your ears up, / Keep your paws still if you're able. / Get the skinny on this here pup / While I bark this canine fable." Radunsky, whose dry-brush, gestural shapes and dramatic color sense align with the author's visual vocabulary, provides both full-bleed pictures and design. The green-eyed narrator, in a backwards baseball cap and bright white pants, dances and postures amid an attentive crew of human and canine consorts. The doggy refrains riff in concatenated barkspeak ("zoof zoof ha ha arf arf arf arf boof boof boof") in display type that curves around the margins of double spreads in ever larger fonts. Begs to be read aloud, but-wow!-bows to no one. (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061239632
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Pages: 26
  • Sales rank: 791,375
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Raschka, when not creating award-winning children's books such as Another Important Book, Caldecott Honor Book Yo! Yes, and Caldecott Medal Winner The Hello, Goodbye Window, expands his mind with the poetry of Shelley, Bishop, and Biz Markie.

Vladimir Radunsky, when not creating award-winning children's books such as What Does Peace Feel Like?, the best-selling The Maestro Plays, and the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Mighty Asparagus, refills his soul with the sounds of Bach, Chopin and Snoop Dogg.

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