From the Publisher
The book's worthy message, not at all subtle, is refreshingly delivered without pretense. The similarly unfussy, muted illustrations are rendered with Egan's characteristic restraint, which emphasizes Dodsworth's low-key approach to life--even after creativity breathes inspiration into his mindless routine. What final directive sends Dodsworth riding off into the night, refrigerator treasures in tow, in search of an ocean? It's one that readers can ride off with as well: "Keep exploring." Horn Book
Egan's smooth storytelling and uncluttered pictures of endearing Dodsworth will easily engage kids, and children who are anxious about change may take encouragement from Dodsworth's delight as he tackles new experiences.
Egan's contemplative picture books, including this story of inspiration, suit jaded adults as well as children. . . . Egan's fastidious, round-edged tracings and soothing, even watercolor hues serve well his unhurried tales, which unfold in a calm, homespun fashion. This volume, like Oh, the Places You'll Go!, urges a young crowd to seek experience, while counseling sedentary adults to create meaningful lives.
Patent that refrigerator! Better yet, patent the spirit and inspiration that flow through Egan's story and give everyone a share.
Egan's masterful handling of the character's growth from lazy lump to a delighted self-starter will engage readers. . . . This off-beat tale is perfect for reading aloud, but will also be appreciated as a read-alone and lap-sit. It's never dull.
School Library Journal
Egan's (Roasted Peanuts) contemplative picture books, including this story of inspiration, suit jaded adults as well as children. Thrift shop owner Dodsworth, whose tidy gray pelt and skinny tail make him resemble a heavy-set rat, likes relaxing. "His motto was basically 'Try to do as little as possible,' " although his house and store are well-kept and painted in a comfy, mellow Arts and Crafts palette. He supports himself with leisurely trips to the junkyard, where he picks up things to clean and resell. One day, he notices a rusty pink refrigerator among the discards, and admires the globe-shaped bronze magnet on its door. Underneath the magnet, which sticks despite his efforts to pry it loose, hangs a scrap of paper reading, "Make pictures." Dodsworth opens the fridge to find "a beautiful assortment of paints and brushes and a little red sketchbook." He plans to hawk the items, but on a whim he decides to paint. The next day, the magnet's note says, "Read more," and the fridge is packed with books. Subsequent visits yield fresh advice and necessary supplies. Egan's fastidious, round-edged tracings and soothing, even watercolor hues serve well his unhurried tales, which unfold in a calm, homespun fashion. This volume, like Oh, the Places You'll Go!, urges a young crowd to seek experience, while counseling sedentary adults to create meaningful lives. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Although Dodsworth's motto is, "Try to do as little as possible," he does go to the junkyard every morning. There he finds enough to sell in his thrift shop to get by. But one Sunday he spots an old rusty pink refrigerator with a magnet on its front, holding a piece of paper. On it he reads, "Make pictures." Inside the refrigerator are paints, brushes, and a sketchbook. Somehow he cannot sell them, but takes them home and paints. And each day there is a new note, and something inside the refrigerator that he just can't sell. So he reads great books, plays music, cooks meals, and plants a garden. By Friday, when the note simply says, "Keep exploring," and the refrigerator is empty, Dodsworth is disappointed. Taking the magnet home, then thinking things over, he finally packs up and goes to "find an ocean." The message is subtle, slyly humorous, and worth contemplating. Our hero is a charming fellow in a brown derby, scarf, jacket and tie, a mouse-like anthropomorphic creature. His world is filled with objects displayed in single-and double-page scenes created with black ink and opaque watercolors. The pace of the story is slow enough to encourage us to inspect the many details of Dodsworth's changing life.
School Library Journal
Bowler-hatted and be-scarfed, Dodsworth leads a rather dull and lazy life of naps, TV, and daily junkyard trips to replenish his thrift-shop stock. The mouse's routines are abruptly altered when he is attracted to a magnet on the front of a rusty pink refrigerator. The mysterious appliance becomes his cornucopia for adventures as it is filled with different supplies each day to help him follow the gentle suggestions written on notes held under the magnet: "Make pictures"; "Read more"; "Play music." His days become so filled with purpose and life that when a last note on the now-empty refrigerator exhorts him to "Keep exploring," Dodsworth finds he has the inner resources to do just that. Egan's masterful handling of the character's growth from lazy lump to a delighted self-starter will engage readers. The ink-and-watercolor art mirrors the laid-back tone of the narrative. In a style slightly reminiscent of James Marshall's work, Egan places his blocky rodent amid an ordered world of muted colors and white-framed spreads. This off-beat tale is perfect for reading aloud, but will also be appreciated as a read-alone and lap-sit. It's never dull.
Marge Loch-WoutersCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Dodsworth isn't exactly a slacker; he just hews closely to the Thoreauvian notion that superfluous wealth can only purchase superfluities. He makes his rounds at the junkyard and brings back the best of the lot to his thrift shop. "He never sold much, but a little more than enough to get by," wirtes Egan. Dodsworth has his easy chair, his television and his motto: "Try to do as little as possible." He also has a date with his destiny: a rusty, pink refrigerator, a new citizen of the junkyard. Working its mysteries, notes held by magnets on the refrigerator get Dodsworth involved in living: "Paint pictures." "Read more." "Play music." Magically, the refrigerator holds the items required to follow the instructions, so paint, read, cook, he does. Ultimately, Dodsworth gets a shove from the nest-"keep exploring," the fridge says; no more handholding-and Dodsworth, after a minor relapse, does just so. Patent that refrigerator! Better yet, patent the spirit and inspiration that flow through Egan's story and give everyone a share. (Picture book. 4-8)