From the exuberant text to the bold, colorful artwork, a joyous spirit pervades this picture book and its fallible yet lovable protagonist. Fine for reading aloud to preschoolers who suspect that they may be fallible yet hope that they are still lovable.
—Booklist (starred review)
As always, Cousins invigorates her cartoons with color and charm. Her splotches and whirls convey depth and movement. The simply drawn characters have a comic flair and, like Ladybug in her tutu, beguile upon first glance. This well-told tale of competitive obsession belongs in all collections.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Dog and his friends live in a world of exuberant color, full of splashes and splatters, but Dog himself can be a little tiresome. Ladybug, Mole, Goose, and Donkey suffer patiently through his everlasting boasting: he can run faster than Mole, dig better than Goose, and outdo the other two as well. Cousins (Yummy) conveys the mixed feelings Dog's big talk creates: “I feel sad,” says Donkey. “Me, too,” agrees Goose. “Actually...” Mole says, “I can dig holes much longer and much deeper than you, Dog. So I win. I'm the best.” Sure enough, when the tables are turned, all the animals can top Dog in some way. Stung, Dog has a low moment (“I'm just a silly show-off”) and apologizes. The friends embrace and comfort him (“you are the best at having beautiful fluffy ears”), and in no time, Dog is off again (“Obviously having beautiful fluffy hears is the most important thing. So I AM the best”), his true temperament reasserting itself. Dog's reversion to type will evoke either one last giggle or a groan, but the message hits. Ages 2-5. (May)
PreS-Gr 1—Jaunty in rainbow-plaid pants, Dog discovers ways to compete with each of his friends. However, he quickly learns that although he swims better than Donkey, Goose is the best swimmer, and Donkey wins the height contest. Finally devastated by his inferiority and shamed by the shabby way he's treated his pals, the orange pup apologizes to Ladybug, Mole, Goose, and Donkey. During a group hug, they kindly assure him that he's the best at having "beautiful fluffy ears. And we love you." The story ends with Dog confident that his talent is the most important of all, so, in fact, he is still "the best." As always, Cousins invigorates her cartoons with color and charm. Her splotches and whirls convey depth and movement. The simply drawn characters have a comic flair and, like Ladybug in her tutu, beguile upon first glance. This well-told tale of competitive obsession belongs in all collections.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Jubilant colors buoy this profile of a braggart. "I'm the best," announces an orange-and-red canine, three limbs raised gleefully. Competition with his pals (Ladybug, Mole, Goose and Donkey) trumps fondness: "I love them. They're great, but I'm the best." Dog trumpets, "I win. I'm the best," after each victory-all rigged via selection of competitor. Of course Dog digs holes better than Goose and swims better than Donkey, but what if hole-digging were matched against Mole and swimming against Goose? The new winners are each best at something, while sore loser Dog sobs that he's "horrible at everything" and was "mean to my friends." He apologizes; they assure him he's the best at "being our best friend" and "having beautiful fluffy ears." Apparently you can't teach an old Dog new tricks, though, for braggadocio gets the last word: "Oh, phew! Obviously having beautiful fluffy ears is the most important thing. So I AM the best." Relish Cousins's lusciously vibrant, liquid-textured inks and the thick pencil lines that boldly match the boasting. (Picture book. 3-5)