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Internationally known pop artist Nara paints some fiendishly ironic images, but there's chiefly whimsy in his picture book debut, the story of a chance friendship between a manga-style girl and a huge, lonely puppy. (An airplane flying past the puppy's legs along with the curve of the Earth beneath his paws suggest his size. The girl, whose doll-like facial features make her expression of grim determination all the funnier, bumps into one of the puppy's paws, and then climbs up his leg, leaving a trail of little comic-book puffs of effort. When she finally confronts a monstrous set of puppy eyes, her crabby expression softens. In concluding spreads Nara pushes on into wordless, heavily worked paintings, adding scumbling, pastels and stencils. Playful and surreal, free of earnest messages, these final images will remain in the reader's memory. Ages 3-up. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.