Ten-Gallon Bart is like a fish out of water when he heads north
BooklistTo escape the oppressive Dog City heat, Ten-Gallon Bart sets off for Alaska where he encroaches on the fishing pond of three bears, experiences sledding from a sled-dog's point of view, and is buried by a freak blizzard while digging for gold. His Dog City friends recognize his hat in a newspaper photo, and pool their resources to rescue their friend. Back home in the heat, surrounded by friends, Bart now thinks he's in paradise. Told in a humorous tall-tale style, the longish story is best suited for school-age children who will enjoy the playful language and silly situations. Collage illustrations feature layers of textured paper that effectively replicate the look and shape of animal fur and feathers. The large pictures are well suited for group sharing and group giggles.
Children's Literature - Cynthia LevinsonIt is so hot in Dog City the chickens are laying fried eggs. Ten-Gallon Bart, a dog, yearns for some place bone-chillin' cold; that would be paradise. In a magazine, he finds an advertisement for Alaska where, instead of a hot dog, he can be a chilly dog. Once there, after a Chugga-chugga, clip-clop, and splish-splash journey, he tries to fish, but bears chase him away from their lake. Next, he tries sledding but discovers, when Mr. Moose attaches him to the harness, that he is the sled dog. Because Bart does not understand the command to "mush," "Oh, you mean Giddyup!' hollered Bart", Mr. Moose repeatedly cracks a whip over him. The harness breaks; he lands in a snow bank where he sees a sign for gold. He ignores other diggers' weather forecast and ends up buried up to his hat brim in snow. His friends back in Dog City resolve to save him. Bart finds paradise at home, even though it is still "Hot. Hot. Hot." Much of the language is fun, for example, Bart's friends include Wyatt Burp and Wild Bill Hiccup, and the fabric-collage illustrations are appealing and worthy of examination. The message, however, in this "Ten-Gallon Bart," the third in a series, is an old one, and its presentation here is not convincing. Bart seems to have no relationship with his friends, and Dog City seems to have no redeeming qualities. So his finding paradise there is confusing. Worse, the scene of his being whipped is disturbing. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
School Library JournalK-Gr 3—Bart, the former canine sheriff of Dog City, is off on another adventure. In town, it was "scorching hot,/blistering hot,/tongue hanging-out hot…" so Bart decides to hitch a stagecoach and head north to Alaska. Things are not what he imagined them to be, with bears, moose that make him pull a dogsled, and a snowstorm that buries him up to his ten-gallon hat. His friends in hot Dog City hear of his icy predicament and come to his rescue, taking him home. Bart's cowboy drawl is fun to read aloud, but one might have to explain some of the references to younger children. The detailed, textured-paper illustrations give the art a three-dimensional look and make Bart extra lively.—Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, Kearns Library, UT
Kirkus ReviewsBlistering heat drives a California canine to the Alaska gold rush. Dog City is sweltering, and Ten-Gallon Bart feels miserable. A story in Barker's Weekly gets him drooling for a colder climate. It looks like Paradise: "No more HOT DOG-I'm fixin' to be a CHILLY DOG!" North he travels; verdant Alaska surely is beautiful, but when Bart starts fishing he runs afoul of angry bears who consider the lake exclusively theirs. Bart's sledding adventure is interrupted by a moose with a shotgun, and his prospecting for gold hampered by snowfall. A picture of Bart covered in snow ends up in the latest edition of Barker's Weekly, and, back in Dog City, Bart's friends raid their piggy bank and put together a rescue party. Finding him in the nick of time, they bring him back to Dog City, which, he realizes, is truly Paradise. Crummel's cheeky narrative (with several clever turns of phrase and lots of onomatopoeia) and Donohue's quirky, textured layered-paper illustrations complement one another to a T in this substantial frontier yarn. (Picture book. 4-7)
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