Wag!

( 12 )

Overview

It seems that everything gets Earl's tail wagging—a bowl of food, a field of flowers, long walks, and belly rubs. But Mooch, Earl's best friend, knows what all of these things have in common: love is what makes Earl's tail wag. Patrick McDonnell, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip, Mutts, pays an incredibly sweet tribute to his dog in a tale of wiggling and waggling, fwipping and fwapping...and every dog's secret to the joy of life.

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Overview

It seems that everything gets Earl's tail wagging—a bowl of food, a field of flowers, long walks, and belly rubs. But Mooch, Earl's best friend, knows what all of these things have in common: love is what makes Earl's tail wag. Patrick McDonnell, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip, Mutts, pays an incredibly sweet tribute to his dog in a tale of wiggling and waggling, fwipping and fwapping...and every dog's secret to the joy of life.

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  • Patrick McDonnell
    Patrick McDonnell  

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"What makes Earl's tail wag?" The irrepressible pooch's tail goes "FWP FWP…" His friends can't tell what. His tail wags for many things, from belly rubs to snowflakes, from friends he knows or would like to know to nothing at all. Finally his friend Mooch claims he knows. It is love, of course. The sketchy black, almost cartoon-y drawings express emotion even when only parts of characters are shown. The sparse story is told like an extended comic strip that tells its tale (no pun intended) with subtle variations. It requires little setting or props on its bare, tinted pages as the few words of text set up the sequence of actions leading to the heart-warming conclusion. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—McDonnell's expressive characters, Earl the pooch and Mooch the cat, move from the award-winning "Mutts" comic strip to this slim picture book to answer the question, "What makes Earl's tail wag?" On page after page, readers see a stimulus that creates the response: belly rubs, sitting in a field of flowers, or playing ball. But McDonnell's question is deeper than that—what is it about these things that makes Earl so happy? After many humorous false starts (cats are famous for an absence of short-term memory), Mooch provides the answer—it's love. McDonnell knows how to use space on a page, create character and affect with a few strokes of his pen, and tell a story using a minimum of words. Children will recognize themselves and their pets in this charming story.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Mooch, a cat of many personalities and curiosities, and his very best friend, Earl, a philosophical and kindly Jack Russell terrier, present many answers to the ancient question: "What makes Earl's tail wag?" In an interactive dialogue, readers of the personable (animalable?) characters can follow the many actions and objects that cause Earl to FWIP-FWIP-FWIP his tail. It wags when playing ball, for food, his human, Ozzie, snowflakes, belly rubs and much more. Above all, "Love is the answer" to the eternal question, as Earl and Mooch demonstrate with an embrace. Sweet, gentle, delightful-all illustrated in line drawings and washes that show exactly what's needed and no more. McDonnell's simple pictures demonstrate humor, personality and keen insight into the world of the small tail-waggers, and the artist as author clearly knows the joys in the small, sweet beings' universe. Although intended for the very young, older humans-and maybe even a cat or two-will understand. Many woofs and FWIPs for this charming book. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316045483
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 266,397
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick McDonnell

Patrick McDonnell is the creator of the Mutts comic strip, which is about to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary. He has illustrated for the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, Time, Parents, and other journals, done CD covers for the Greatest Hits classical music series, and created a license plate for his home state of New Jersey. Hailed as "the next Charles Schulz," Patrick sits on the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States, and has won numerous awards for both Mutts and his animal welfare work. He is the author of The Gift of Nothing, Art, Just Like Heaven, Hug Time, and South, and the co-author of Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    So cute and funny!

    So cute and funny!

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  • Posted September 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    My four year old loves this book

    If you are like me, you know Patrick McDonnell mainly for his comic strip, Mutts, which records the adventures of Mooch the cat, his best friend Earl (a dog), and their human companions. While I enjoy the comic strip, and its content and whimsical drawing style seem pretty well suited for sharing with preschoolers, I personally find reading comic strips out loud rather tedious, so had been saving the Mutts revelation for when my daughter was older and could read it for herself.

    Last Christmas, my brother proved that his uncanny ability to match readers with writers was not limited to the rapidly approaching 40 set by giving my four-year-old Patrick McDonnell's book Just Like Heaven. At first blush the revelation that Patrick McDonnell had a children's book may appear to be more exciting for me than my daughter. But through Just Like Heaven my daughter has come to love the Mutts characters nearly as much as I do.

    So why review wag! instead?

    While she loves Just Like Heaven and will curl up contentedly on my lap listening to me read it for as long as my voice will hold out, my daughter will actually read wag! to me. (Or more accurately, to her T. Rex puppet while I record the whole thing on my iPhone.)

    Much of it is recited from memory, of course. But she recognizes the odd word here and there, and uses those prompts to recall the rest of the story, much as you or I might use a slide deck to bluff our way through a speech. She really gets into her storytelling, and uses slightly different voices for the narrator of the story and Mooch the cat. (No really. I have the video to prove it.)

    Maybe it's the whimsical art. Maybe it's the simple text. But whatever the source of the pixie dust, wag! transforms my daughter from passive listener to active reader, a feat for which we at Caterpickles Central give it 5 stars.

    (Review originally posted on my blog: Caterpickles - Scientific and Linguistic Engagement with a 4 Year Old Mind)

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    My daughter loves this book!

    My daughter is six years old and she loved this book. She liked the mix of characters and was delighted by the illustrations.

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    Posted October 24, 2009

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