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|Good boy, Fergus!|
Author: Shannon, David
Except for his bath, Fergus experiences the perfect doggy day, from chasing cats and motorcycles to being scratched on his favorite tickle spot.
Common Core Standards
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Craft & Structure
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (03/01/06)
School Library Journal (03/06)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (03/06)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2006 Just about everybody in the children’s book world now knows David Shannon’s David, who first leapt (sometimes bare-butted) to our attention in No, David (BCCB 9/98) and who has tried adult patience in several subsequent titles. Having chronicled such a willful young human’s obstreperous antics, Shannon now turns to an irrepressible West Highland White terrier, Fergus, a formidable character in his own right, but also one who will appeal to a preschooler audience as a creature even less fazed by authority than his human compatriot.
Right from the start, Fergus is obviously an overflowing handful; rather than sauntering out for his morning business when the day begins, he catapults himself after a cat, then develops convenient deafness as his owner calls, CALLS, CALLS the pup away from an interesting-smelling tree. His day is filled with classic doggy highlights, from the unsuccessful evasion of a bath to a successful begging attempt at the table, from a “walk” that’s a high-speed pursuit of a motorcycle to a bout of mischief in the potted plants to a dinner spurned until it’s topped with something more tasty, until finally he runs out of gas and falls asleep—on his owner’s bed, of course. The text consists entirely of simple dog-understandable communications uttered by Fergus’ attentive owner, yet Shannon manages to imbue it with breathless and comedic entreaty—audiences will especially adore the way the page overflows with the owner’s repeated pleading commands for Fergus to quit sniffing the tree and come back inside—making this a readaloud that will keep even the squirmier preschoolers’ attention.
The text, however, is essentially a soundtrack for the images, playing a plaintive and appropriate second fiddle to the art here: this is All About Fergus, and his owner creeps into the picture only when a convenient scratching hand or victim of an overenthusiastic greeting is needed. The visuals keep Fergus appealing while also conveying his high-voltage character: spiky lines delineate his white coat, and scribbled eyes make him look convincingly manic. In full gallop, he’s a mass of windmilling limbs flailing in all directions, perhaps reflecting the Futurist depiction of motion, perhaps simply reflecting the known fact that scrabbling dogs do develop extra legs. He’s also capable of fixed purpose, though, as in the sequence of panels where he stares unblinking and unchanged at his eating owner, with only a paw prodding importunately, until the Fergustender inevitably caves. Yet there’s more just a funny dog here—the deceptive simplicity of the scrawled lines is counterpointed by splotchy paints that lend a subtly frescoed texture to the backgrounds and planes of color, and cinematically dramatic changes in focus and perspective add to the rollercoaster ride that is life with Fergus.
The comedy here lies not only in the classic canine comedic touchstones of pee puddles and bath avoidance, it’s that Fergus has broken the system; he has not only remained uncontained by authority but made authority yield to him, as his indulgent and probably very tired owner repeatedly caves in to tell him “Good boy, Fergus,” despite Fergus’ indifference to his owner’s directives (ironically, audiences will be paying more attention to Fergus’ owner’s voice than he does). Youngsters will snicker appreciatively (and perhaps even knowingly) at that outcome, finding in Fergus a hero of domestic freedom as he wreaks canine chaos while retaining the faithful affection of dog’s best friend. - Copyright 2006 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2006 PreS-Gr 2-Reading this story is like having a romp with the funniest dog in town. As the book opens, two lines of text ("Good morning, Fergus!/Want to go out?") frame the irrepressible face of a furry white terrier, black button eyes glistening with excitement. Subsequent pages feature the pup's adventures chasing cats and motorbikes, scratching and being scratched, playing in the dirt, begging for meatballs, and riding in the car. No matter what the animal does, his master's refrain is-you guessed it. Readers see everything from a terrier-sized perspective, and they rarely see anyone but Fergus. When he is trampling his owner to request a walk, they catch just a glimpse of a human face. The motorcyclist's face is so covered with gear as to be generic. The more intimate portraits here are of things of interest to Fergus-spaghetti and meatballs, for example, or the whipped cream that he likes on his kibble. Shannon's artwork is like an overstuffed sofa: colorful, homey, and bouncy. A riotous book to unleash on all readers-even those who own cats.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2006 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2006 Fergus is a West Highland terrier, sort of an antihero to Rosemary Well's doggie, McDuff. He goes wild when he sees a cat, won't come when he's called, eats the daisies, and puddles in the wrong places. Of course, he's not entirely to blame; his unseen master is the sort who tells him not to beg, then slips him a tidbit, and puts whipped cream in his food bowl after the original offering gets only a disdainful sniff. This book is all about the impressive, oversize visuals--pictures that show the adorable doggie in full canine-caper mode: leaping, chasing, digging, not rolling over on command. And the expressions on Fergus' face perfectly mirror those of many pets who have the innocent look down pat: Who me? However, the best audience for this will be children old enough (or experienced enough with dogs) to catch the humor. Fergus has made cameo appearances in other Shannon books. Come to think of it, maybe he's not so much a counterpoint to McDuff as he is Shannon's David in fur. - Copyright 2006 Booklist.