Lucky and Squash

Overview

Lucky and Squash are next-door neighbors and best friends. But there's a locked gate between them, so they can never play together. If only their owners fell in love and got married, Lucky and Squash would be brothers. . . . Unfortunately, Miss Violet and Mr. Bernard have never even said hello to each other.

The only solution is for Lucky and Squash to run away together, leaving a trail of clues behind them. Then, when their owners come to the ...

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Overview

Lucky and Squash are next-door neighbors and best friends. But there's a locked gate between them, so they can never play together. If only their owners fell in love and got married, Lucky and Squash would be brothers. . . . Unfortunately, Miss Violet and Mr. Bernard have never even said hello to each other.

The only solution is for Lucky and Squash to run away together, leaving a trail of clues behind them. Then, when their owners come to the rescue, surely they will notice each other and fall in love. Won't they?

National Book Award winner Jeanne Birdsall tells the humorous, heartwarming story of two friends determined to be together, complemented perfectly by Jane Dyer's exquisite watercolors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lucky and Squash are dog neighbors and best friends who long for a permanent play date. But a fence separates their two yards and their single owners, Mr. Bernard and Miss Violet, are “so shy they’ve never even said hello to each other.” So the pets plan a series of “escapes” hoping that their two humans will be thrown together in the rescue effort—and if means the dogs get to venture out to exciting destinations, so much the better. Birdsall’s (Flora’s Very Windy Day) genial, intimate storytelling instantly establishes a bond with readers (“Your plan didn’t work,” says a frustrated Lucky. “They didn’t get married and we’re still not brothers”). While Dyer’s (the Cookies series) watercolors are pretty and sweet, there’s little sense of the dogs having two distinctive personalities, and the understated portrayal of their improbable adventures (snorkeling at beach, sightseeing in a Manhattan hansom cab) feels like a missed opportunity. Is it Emma meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with wagging tails? Not quite, though it’s hardhearted to quibble with a book that ends with a wedding brought about by two canine matchmakers. Ages 4–7. (May)
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Lucky and Squash, two dogs, are next-door neighbors and best friends—but they would rather be brothers so they could play together instead of just talking through the fence. To that end, they plot the marriage of their respective, but shy, owners, Mr. Bernard and Miss Violet. Their plan: dig under the fence, run away, but leave plenty of clues along the way to lead their owners to them. Viola! They would meet, fall in love, marry and Lucky and Squash would be together. The dogs run to the beach, where they have a delightfully fun day. They of course are found; but their owners see only them, not each other. So they escape again, to have a fascinating day in the city. When that also does not work, they run away to the forest, where they are frightened by a bear. But wait? What was this? Mr. Bernard and Miss Violet rush in and scare off the bear. Emboldened by this adventure, the two finally notice of each other, fall in love, and marry. Birdsall's sweet fantasy-like tale is endearing; her storytelling will pull youngsters in and have them rooting for the dogs' success. Dyer's soft watercolors adorn the pages, with a nice mix of full spreads and storyboarding boxes. Little details, such as the dogs' tied bandana-like packs, stolen pretzels, and sand castles, give little eyes much to gaze upon. The suspense, determination, excitement, and love in both the text and illustrations make this a winner! Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—This sweet and humorous story features two endearing dogs that are neighbors and best friends despite the white picket fence that separate their yards. Lucky's "person," Mr. Bernard, is single and shy, as is Squash's "person," Miss Violet. The pups devise a plan to run away to get them to meet, fall in love, and marry. They make it to the beach and then to the city, but with dismal results. Not even a date comes about from their rescues. Will the third attempt be the charm? Will these cunning canines finally entice the couple to get together so that they can all live together happily ever after? When the pups run away to the scary forest and are captured by a ferocious bear, the heightened tension of this rescue creates a strong story arc. Birdsall's well-told tale is suspenseful and heartwarming, and the expressions on the dogs' faces in Dyer's watercolor illustrations are priceless, especially on the spreads when they are poking their heads through the slats of the fence, and when they are in the arms of their owners. This title will be a hit at storytime or in a one-on-one setting.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Two dogs living next door to each other become friends through the fence separating their backyards, successfully serving as matchmakers for their lonely owners, Miss Violet and Mr. Bernard. Lucky is a Lhasa Apso, the braver of the two dogs, and Squash is a brainy Boston terrier. Together they repeatedly escape confinement in an effort to introduce their owners in hopes that a marriage will ensue and the canine pals can become brothers. In each successive escapade, they travel "for a day and a night," leaving a trail of clues for their owners to find them. The dogs travel to the beach, to New York City and finally to a deliciously scary forest complete with vultures and a gigantic bear. The devoted owners always find their canine companions, and by the third escape attempt, the dogs have succeeded in bringing the human pair together. Charming watercolor illustrations have all the clever details that are Dyer's signature touch, from tiny name tags on the dogs' collars to Miss Violet's lavender eyeglass frames. This gentle, entertaining story has elements of a traditional fairy tale in language and structure with a romantic wedding scene as the conclusion. Good for dog lovers and romantics alike. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060831509
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,450,584
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Birdsall

When Jeanne Birdsall moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, her dog, Cagney, quickly made friends with Scuppers the Sailor Dog, who lives with Jane Dyer and her husband, Tom, in a hundred-year-old brick house in Northampton. Jeanne Birdsall is the National Book Award-winning author of The Penderwicks and its sequels, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette.

Jane Dyer is the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Cookies series by Amy Krouse Rosenthal as well as numerous other award-winning picture books. She lives and works in a hundred-year-old brick house in Northampton, Massachusetts. You can visit Jane online at www.janedyerbooks.com.

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