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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The power of imagination is an unparalleled force. Peter Sís celebrates this awesome ability in his charming city girl, first introduced in Madlenka. In that book, Sís showed us Madlenka's diverse neighborhood filled with people of every ethnic background. In this exquisite picture book, Madlenka has one thing on her mind -- she wants a dog! When Mom and Dad don't give in to the little blonde one's request, Madlenka lets her imagination take hold. Soon, she is tying a bright red leash on her new, imaginary dog. As she strolls through her awesome 'hood, her neighbors comment on the delightful pooch. Mr. Gaston, the baker, sees a white french poodle. Mr. Eduardo sees a big and woolly furry friend. Sís uses lift-up flaps to feature the neighbors' versions of Madlenka's dog. And it seems that everyone imagines their childhood pet, as each dog is paired in the illustrations with a child resembling each of the neighbors.
Madlenka meets up with her friend Cleopatra, who just happens to be playing with her imaginary horse. Together, the two conjure up a variety of exotic locales. Using die-cut windows, Sís allows readers see the two girls as they pretend they are princesses in a dragon-filled land, mummies in Egypt, and Eskimos in Alaska -- all with their precious dog and horse by their side. When Madlenka is called home, the two girls go their separate ways. As Madlenka walks back to her apartment, she is followed by more than two dozen precious pooches. "I'm home!" she announces, with the clan of canines happily surrounding her.
Peter Sís weaves a magical tale using a simple concept matched with brilliantly detailed illustrations. A black-and-white sketched background, reminiscent of the gray city streets, makes Sís' use of color more dramatic. The adorable Madlenka, with her red T-shirt and mop of blonde hair, and Cleopatra, in her lemon-yellow dress, shine through as the true stars. Their escape into faraway lands produces a colorful and creative contrast to the backdrop of the city buildings. Sís' simple text and brilliant designs are a homage to the potential of imagination and the spirit of the one and only Madlenka. (Amy Barkat)