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Children's LiteratureSara Barker is frightened by dogs, with good reason. When visiting a great aunt at the age of four, Sara was bowled over by a large friendly dog who jumped on her and licked her face. Sara was too young to see this as a friendly overture, and can only remember the sight of the "gigantic mouth, pointy teeth and humongous paws." Her family knows she is afraid of dogs, but Sara wants to hide her fear from her friends and neighbors. When she sees a dog, she invents a diversion for herself and her friends. This works until the day her neighbor, Ms. Harrington, falls in her back yard and Sara must jump the fence to help her, in spite of the two dogs that live in Ms. Harrington's back yard. Overcoming her fear long enough to help her neighbor, Sara discovers that she is no longer afraid. Developing interesting characters in a predictable plot, Rodowsky has written an engaging book for young readers. The pictures, charcoal drawings with bold outlines, complement the text, showing the many faces of Sara Barker. 2005, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Ages 8 to 12.
—Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo