The Barnes & Noble Review
The husband-and-wife team who brought you Snowmen at Night and It's a Spoon Not a Shovel spin a high-flying tale about a dachshund with dreams of being a superhero.
Dexter, a dog who "looked like a plump sausage sitting on four little meatballs," can't seem to get the respect he deserves. All of the neighborhood animals mock him due to his size, especially Cleevis, a tomcat who likes to "stand right over Dex and not even ruffle his fur." But Dexter aspires to be a superhero, and after some serious training, the dynamic doggy is pumped up, outfitted accordingly, and ready for action. Everyday superhero business keeps Dexter plenty busy, but when Cleevis gets stuck in a high tree branch, the locals call on him for help. Never fear! For the pooch enlists the animals' help to save the howling feline, and he even gets a sidekick to boot.
With riotous energy and laugh-out-loud illustrations -- Mark Buehner has hidden various animals in the pictures, too -- this book wins a blue ribbon. Dexter's hilarious facial expressions alone are worth the read, and the can-do message will let kids know that anybody can be a hero with the right attitude. Superdog will make your spirit soar!
In Superdog: The Heart of a Hero...husband-and-wife team Caralyn and Mark Buehner follow Dexter's entertaining journey from pipsqueak to power-pooch...Mark Buehner's energetic illustrations, some of which are designed to resemble comic book panels, are full of bright colors and humorous details. Readers will also enjoy finding a slew of tiny animal shapes hidden in the artwork.Jessica Bruder
Not a bird, not a plane, but a super-determined dachshund named Dexter steals the show in the Buehners' (Snowmen at Night) picture book. Short of stature, Dex endures rude indifference or energetic taunting from the other pooches in the neighborhood as well as the bullying ringleader, a tomcat named Cleevis. But deep inside, Dex believes he has the heart of a hero, just like the characters in comic books and movies. The humble pup embarks on a rigorous training regimen and mail-orders a hero suit-complete with cape-to go along with his new buff body and attitude. Soon Dex's helpful feats earn him respect, gratitude and happiness-and the opportunity to show Cleevis how it's done. Caralyn Buehner's feel-good tale has a triumphal, never-smug tone that will strike a chord with underdogs everywhere. Mark Buehner infuses his velvety oil paintings with characteristic humor and warmth. He adds a few dashes of comic-book-style text blocks and panel art to underscore the superhero theme. Scenes of Dex flexing his muscles, panting during his sidewalk runs or sporting his green-and-red superdog outfit are laugh-out-loud funny. Elsewhere, shady brownstone stoops and colorful city storefronts and streets add extra flair to this dynamic effort. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Dexter the dachshund is little in every way and as a result takes the brunt of bullying from the other dogs and from Cleevis the tomcat. In an effort to attain his dream of being a hero, he embarks on a fitness regime that he adheres to with tenacity that leaves him "faster than a rolling ball, stronger than the toughest rawhide, able to leap tall fences in a single bound!" Buffed and beautiful his look is complete with the arrival of his red suit with the shiny green cape. The crusading Dex, exuding confidence, springs into action at the first sign of trouble and helps small dogs cross the street, pulls a rat from a live wire, and finds a lost kitten. Still he cannot shake the taunting of Cleevis and his rowdy friends until the night when a call of alarm goes out...Cleevis is stuck in a tree! Ever the super hero Dex proves that the little guy can come out on top in this droll little story that never lets the message get in the way. Bold illustrations that capture his humiliation and triumphs are filled with hidden cats, rabbits and even a Tyrannosaurus Rex. You cannot help but cheer for this little underdog with the great big heart. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 4 to 8.
PreS-Gr 3-Dexter the dachshund is an underdog-literally. Cleevis the tomcat enjoys demonstrating how he can stand right over Dex and not even ruffle his fur. What the pooch lacks in size, however, he makes up for in determination, and when he decides to stop just dreaming of being a hero and devote his life to becoming one, he is unstoppable. The first step on his journey is the library, where the poodle who assists him is wearing glasses and sports what looks suspiciously like a bun. He sets himself a strict exercise regime, pushing himself to the limit: "Even at bedtime, when he wanted to flop on the rug with his tongue hanging out, Dex forced himself to circle five extra times." He finally achieves his goal (his muscle-man poses are priceless), dons a Superdog suit, and proceeds to use his hard-earned prowess for the good of all. When he eventually comes to the rescue of a stranded Cleevis, a new partnership is formed with "twice the brains and triple the brawn." The story line may be a bit predictable, but the Buehners' considerable talents render it fresh and funny. The author has created a lovable and memorable character in the endearing and stalwart Dex, and the illustrator's retro-style artwork is charming. As in Fanny's Dream (Dial, 1996), he has added to the fun by hiding cats, rabbits, and even a Tyrannosaurus rex in the clouds and shadows. This dynamic combination of heart and humor should not be missed.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The Buehners convincingly suggest that heroes, super or otherwise, are self-made. Looking "like a plump sausage on four little meatballs," Dexter the dachshund is derided by all the other pooches and even the hulking tomcat Cleevis. Determined, however, to turn his dreams of becoming a superhero into reality, he undertakes a relentless program of study and exercise, orders a form-fitting, red-and-green hero suit, and proudly takes on the work of a Hero. That could be helping a puppy cross the street, tackling a purse-snatcher, putting out a trash-can fire, or organizing a neighborhood cleanup day. Flexing stubby but well-muscled arms, Dex cuts a distinctive figure in the illustrations as he grows into his role, striding with new self-confidence through his all-animal urban community, ever ready to help those in need. In the end, he even rescues Cleevis from a tree, picking up a sidekick as a result. Faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive? No-but this low-slung role model shows the inner stuff, both to transform himself, and to rise to the challenges that come his way. (Picture book. 7-9)