PreS-Gr 3-A persistent youngster makes peace with the neighborhood terror in this tale of bark being worse than bite. Determined to find a way to avoid Mad Dog McGraw's snapping teeth, the boy builds a pair of stilts out of two old brooms, uses a large umbrella to sail by on the wind, and even tries to distract the beast with a stray cat named Bait. Unfortunately, all of the plans fail, and he is repeatedly forced to make a mad dash for safety. Finally, after talking things over with his mother, the child tries a different tact and, armed with a dog biscuit, makes a new friend. The story is told in short, action-filled sentences that perfectly suit a child's voice. Created with acrylic paint, paper montage, and colored pencils, the illustrations make the most of the exaggerated humor in the text. Unexpected bits and pieces of pictures-the branches of an evergreen or the denim of the narrator's overalls-are mixed into the stylized paintings. Brightly colored backgrounds and variations in layout, size, and perspective keep the artwork fresh. Mad Dog McGraw has bristly fur, a studded collar, and small pointy teeth, but still manages to smile at the happy ending.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Love conquers fear in a charming story about a boy and a fearsome dog. "I hate Mad Dog McGraw," cries the little boy about his next-door neighbor's pet. Mad Dog barks and chases our hero back home. To avoid going near the dog, the boy tries a number of strategies. He learns how to walk on stilts. That works until a stilt is caught in a crack and he falls right in the dog's path. He decides to sail over him with an open umbrella. That works, too, until the wind stops and he falls into his yard. In desperation, he decides to get a cat to scare Mad Dog. Since he doesn't have a cat, he tames Bait, a stray, by offering him milk. But instead of frightening the dog, Bait purrs and wins his love. The offer of a dog biscuit produces the same result with Mad Dog, and they all live happily ever after. Monks's (The Cat Barked?,1999) paper montage illustrations with acrylic paint and colored crayons add to Uhlberg's (Flying Over Brooklyn, not reviewed) humorous text. The bright cartoon-like figures with paperdoll-styled clothing are jaunty and fun. Mad Dog's teeth all stick out of even his closed, smiling mouth. The boy's five hairs stick straight up from his head. His wide O-shaped eyes with a little dot for pupils graphically display his fear. The cat's long black-and-white striped tail curving high over her back is the picture of allure and sophistication. A delightful story, but children shouldn't take its lesson too seriously when dealing with strange "mad dogs." (Picture book. 3-8)