Painter and Ugly

Painter and Ugly

by Robert J. Blake
     
 

Painter and Ugly are best friends. They run together, they swim together, they eat out of the same dinner bowls. When one calls out, "Yip," the other answers back. They are inseparable! That is, until they are forced apart and put on two different teams for the junior Iditarod. But nothing can keep them apart. When during the race Painter finds a boy musher alone,

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Overview

Painter and Ugly are best friends. They run together, they swim together, they eat out of the same dinner bowls. When one calls out, "Yip," the other answers back. They are inseparable! That is, until they are forced apart and put on two different teams for the junior Iditarod. But nothing can keep them apart. When during the race Painter finds a boy musher alone, stranded on the trail, he calls out, "Yip!" and Ugly answers his call. These old friends team up to finish the race, together again, side by side.

Robert Blake brings us back to the Iditarod in this exciting and heartwarming story of racing and friendship.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like Blake's earlier work, including Togo and Akiak, this story celebrates the excitement of sled-dog racing and the dramatic landscape of the far north. Blake focuses on the friendship that develops between two sled dogs owned by a boy named Jake: "Wherever you saw Painter, there you saw Ugly.... If Ugly howled at the moon, Painter sang harmony." After the two are separated in a robbery and claimed by different young sled-dog mushers, Painter hunts ceaselessly for his friend until it's time for the Junior Iditarod sled-dog race, when his nose tells him that Ugly is out there somewhere among the dog teams. The sequence of events that leads to their reunion hurtles along breathlessly ("Painter leaped into the air when the team sprinted into view--Ugly was the lead dog!"), and the moment itself is portrayed in a joyous, wordless close-up. Blake paints the dogs' heavy coats and eager faces in painstaking detail, and does a notably good job of narrating from a dog's point of view. His portrait of this specialized world will lure even those who have never been part of it. Ages 5–8. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Young Jake takes good care of his sled-racing dogs on an island on the Yukon River. He particularly prizes two dogs, Painter and Ugly, who are always together. On the day that they are taken to the mainland to race, however, the dogs are separated; a strange redheaded boy takes Painter away. Painter yips in vain for Ugly but goes through training to earn the lead of his team. On the day of the Junior Iditarod, Painter smells Ugly there. Resting at the halfway point, Painter and Ugly exchange yips. Taking off the next day, Ugly's team is in the lead, but at one point he turns his team off the trail and Painter does the same. Then, racing along, they cross the finish line together, because "...nothing can keep two real friends apart." Blake's oil paintings depict the snowy scenes that fill the double pages with the frigid atmosphere. But his naturalistic portrayals of the dogs are full of animal warmth and mutual attraction as well as with emotion. The scenes of the pair at the heads of their teams racing to the finish are particularly appealing. But readers must wonder why Jake separated the dogs. There are maps of the trail on the end pages. Blake adds a note on how he created the book, spending time in North Pole, Alaska. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Blake presents a story of canine friendship on the Junior Iditarod Trail. Painter and Ugly are sled dogs living with their boy, Jake, on the Yukon River. They are an inseparable pair, playing together, eating out of the same bowl, and insisting on sleeping next to one another. They are also the fastest of the local racing dogs, and that leads to them being split up eventually and placed on different teams as the lead dogs. It's a lonely life for them, and they miss one another. However, during the 80-mile race, the dogs find a way to be together and to lead their teams to victory. Blake's glorious paintings, done in oil on canvas, are slightly impressionistic but do an effective job of reinforcing the action and changing moods of this satisfying story.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews

From a veteran Iditarod chronicler (Akiak, 1997, etc.) comes the tale of Painter and Ugly, two young sled dogs and dedicated friends. Rich, textured oils show the dogs as they run and play within a snowy Alaskan landscape, spending all of their time together until the fateful day that they are separated and sold to different owners. Painter misses Ugly and is lonely in his new surroundings, but he is a strong sled dog at heart and trains hard with his new team. On the day of the Junior Iditarod, a race in which the mushers are teens, Painter recognizes Ugly's scent before the teams take off. Is there a way the two can reconnect? Blake's timing is just right in his description of the race, and tension builds as the two dogs lead their teams through the wilderness, working hard and hoping to see each another again. An engaging tale of friendship, loyalty and separation, this will appeal to fans of the author's earlier work as well all readers who enjoy a suspenseful story with a satisfying end. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399243233
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/20/2011
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
270,482
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Robert J. Blake was born and raised in New Jersey. As a boy he made "tons of drawings" and used up thousands of crayons. He says, "I even did a huge crayon mural on our hallway that was not artistically appreciated by my parents."

Sharing one large room with two older brothers was "total chaos," he recalls. "We had lots of animals - dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and even two flying squirrels. And, oh yes, a tarantula. I think my parents were afraid to come up to our room."

Mr. Blake now resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He works in his studio, a renovated barn on his property. Mr. Blake says, "I would like to paint in every state in the United States and in every country in the world."

"I hope my books lend the reader a feeling, and emotion, a new point of view, a new way to look at something that they might not have experienced otherwise."

Robert J. Blake was born and raised in New Jersey. As a boy he made "tons of drawings" and used up thousands of crayons. He says, "I even did a huge crayon mural on our hallway that was not artistically appreciated by my parents."

Sharing one large room with two older brothers was "total chaos," he recalls. "We had lots of animals - dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and even two flying squirrels. And, oh yes, a tarantula. I think my parents were afraid to come up to our room."

Mr. Blake now resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He works in his studio, a renovated barn on his property. Mr. Blake says, "I would like to paint in every state in the United States and in every country in the world."

"I hope my books lend the reader a feeling, and emotion, a new point of view, a new way to look at something that they might not have experienced otherwise."

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