Bound To Stay Bound

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Booklist - 04/01/2018 *Starred Review* Proud of their success in keeping the neighborhood squirrels at bay, house dogs Sassy and Waldo fixate on a new mission: rescuing their boy, Stewart, from the mysterious “school” to which he drags himself each day. With plenty of comical reinforcement from Jack’s freewheeling sketches, Falatko spins this promising premise into a hilarious romp—as, contrary to their expectations, the titular disguised pooches find that “school” is a nonstop round of astonishing new discoveries enhanced by exciting servings of meat (all food words throughout are in boldface) every lunchtime. Recognized by Stewart but none of the blithely oblivious grown-ups, new student “Salty Woofadogington” not only goes on to score triumphs in music class and PE’s ultimate frisbee, but helps to crank up Stewart’s lame oral report on squirrels into a truly epic class presentation. From Waldo’s introduction (as “a small and scruffy dog who smelled like kibble plus something else he’d rather not discuss”) on, the author fills the narrative with doggy gags, and trots in a tasty supporting cast that ranges from Stewart’s carefree working parents to “Bax the bully,” a wisecracking supposed nemesis who—his actual name being Bax Thabully—becomes a solid friend. “You’re such good dogs,” Stewart burbles at the end, admitting that his whole attitude toward school has been turned around. Few readers will disagree. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 05/01/2018 Gr 2–4—The title pretty much says it all. Two dogs, Waldo and Sassy, do in fact stand on top of each other, put on a trench coat, and impersonate a new student so that they can save their owner Stewart from the horrible place known as school. They can't understand why he escapes from them every morning and goes to a place where he does "nothing" all day. At Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School and Learning Commons, everyone but Stewart thinks that "Salty from Liver, Ohio" is a new transfer student. Readers will likely suspend disbelief for scene after scene of silliness as the dogs come to enjoy school and save Stewart's science presentation. The book's slapstick humor and gags play largely on the dog's superior sense of smell, love of meat products, and obsession with squirrels. The design and typography will be appealing to reluctant readers—food words are in bold, and when the dogs speak, their words are italicized. VERDICT A goofy offering for readers who like over-the-top fare.—Tim Wadham, Children's Literature Consultant, Puyallup, WA - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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