George, the hero of this dog-behaving-badly story from Haughton (Little Owl Lost), hits the canine trifecta: oversize snout, floppy ears, and an anguished expression. His body is a polyhedron of warm red and fuchsia, and the house he shares with his troll-like owner, Harry, is similarly bathed in supersaturated hues. George vows to be good when Harry leaves, but he promptly encounters temptation (“It’s cake! I said I’d be good, George thinks, but I love cake”). In a droll parody of an old-fashioned moral lesson, the narrator intones, “What will George do?” as George gazes out at readers with a familiar dog-in-headlights look. The suspense is broken when the page turns to a double spread of George chowing down, as the narrator cries, “Oh no, George!” The results of several errors of judgment greet Harry upon his return. A brief but impressive period of high-minded resolve during a walk is followed by the speedy return of the mush-willed George readers have already grown to love. Behind the dopey entertainment, though, there’s a carefully disciplined visual and verbal economy—evidence of Haughton’s substantial gifts. Ages 2–up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When Harry goes out, he asks his floppy-eared dog George if he will be good. George says "yes," but...first he spots a cake in the kitchen. "What will George do? Oh, no, George!" This is the repeated refrain, as George wants to be good, but is presented with too much temptation, like the cat he loves to play with, or the dirt around some flowers that he loves to dig. When Harry returns, he is very upset at the mess. George cries and gives Harry his favorite toy to show him he's sorry. Harry takes George for a walk, and George resists temptation, until he encounters an enticing trashcan. We are left wondering what George will do then. The actions of this geometric canine with very long ears and purple snout are visualized in pencil and digital media, sometimes on white-framed pages. With his stark white round eyes with blue-rimmed black pupils he stares at us as he ponders each temptation. Then, after we turn the page, we see him being naughty. The constructed objects lack details, almost like cut from paper, on backgrounds of intense orange. The emotional content and humor are easy to grasp. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—George wants to be good-he really does-but some temptations are too hard to resist. The pup's first downfall is cake, then the cat, then dirt. Predictably, eating the cake, playing with the cat, and digging in the dirt don't impress Harry, his owner. George is contrite, and after Harry cleans up, they go out for a walk together, and he manages to pass up each of the previous temptations. In the end, though, readers are left to guess whether digging through an interesting-smelling garbage can will prove too big a temptation for the reformed canine. George's exploits are displayed on bright spreads while the repetitive text simply says, "Oh no, George!" leaving readers to infer from the picture what choice he made. Haughton's digitally rendered illustrations have a modern-retro feel, and creative kids will enjoy seeing that the conventional color rules are missing; George is a fuchsia, red, and mulberry delight, while Harry is olive-green with navy blue and aqua hair. Make room in your dog-themed storytimes for this crowd-pleaser.—Amy Commers, South St. Paul Public Library, MN
George is a gigantic, magenta dog with a purple snout and huge, expressive eyes. He wants to be good and knows the rules of proper behavior, but he can't quite manage to follow them when left alone in the house. The individual's struggle for self-control is subtly conveyed in George's story, which manages to make old concept fresh thanks to George's winning personality and a vibrant, jazzy artistic style. Minimalist illustrations in a combination of pencil and digital media use geometric shapes and a striking palette of bold oranges, red and purples complemented by a contemporary typeface and a large trim. When George's owner, Harry, leaves George at home, the big pooch eats the cake, chases the cat and digs up the plants in a flurry of misbehavior. George is filled with remorse, and with a teary apology, he offers his favorite toy to his owner in recompense. Later, on a walk with his owner, George is able to control himself and bypass similar temptations, but the open-ended conclusion shows George next to an overflowing trashcan, with a decision to make about his next move. Young children who struggle to follow the rules will feel a bond with George, and the story's present-tense narration and repeated refrains make this a natural for reading aloud. (Picture book. 3-6)
From the Publisher
An entertaining romp.
—Wall Street Journal
The individual’s struggle for self-control is subtly conveyed in George’s story, which manages to make old concept fresh thanks to George’s winning personality and a vibrant, jazzy artistic style... Young children who struggle to follow the rules will feel a bond with George, and the story’s present-tense narration and repeated refrains make this a natural for reading aloud.
Haughton’s retro illustrations capture George’s inner turmoil in both the position of his ears and the subtle shift of his eyeballs. Of course, there are no kids out there who struggle with resisting temptation, so this book won’t resonate at all . . . right?