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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/20/2013 Gr 1–3—Vinnie, a friendly but hyperactive mutt, is lost. While following Hap, a Wildlands Preserve worker, the dog bolts into the park when he spies the gate to the preserve. Vinnie is excited about the many new friends he can make: giraffes, zebras, leopards, parrots. Each creature is his best friend until he meets the next one. Way in the back, all alone in the peace and quiet of the rhino range, is Bogart, and Vinnie is quite taken with him. "I love you! I'm Vinnie! Hi!" he says, tail wagging and tongue lagging. Hap knows that Vinnie could be in danger, but he cannot lure the pup from Bogart's side. As a matter of fact, Vinnie discovers that it's great fun to play follow the leader, and he tails Bogart everywhere. Meanwhile, Vinnie's boy, Ethan, is looking high and low for his pet. Then Vinnie and Bogart are featured on the news. Before long, boy and dog are reunited, but nobody wants to split up Vinnie's new family of animal friends. They all move to Ethan's house, where they live together "in peace and harmony….Except the neighbors." The cartoon illustrations are done in acrylics, colored pencil, and ink. Vinnie is goofy-looking and appealing, but this is a rather slight story that will be more suitable as a supplemental purchase.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2013 Vinnie, a “crazy-happy dog,” is cluelessly and gleefully lost when he darts into the Wildlands Preserve. Once in the park, Vinnie joyously greets every wild animal he sees, including Bogart, a contentedly solitary rhino. After initial annoyance, long-suffering Bogart bemusedly tolerates Vinnie’s presence in a relationship that’s celebrated as an inspiring interspecies friendship by the Wildlands staff and mainstream media. Finally, Vinnie’s family finds their lost pooch, and to ensure all the friends get to stay together, they take all the animals back to stay with them, where “everyone was happy. Except the neighbors.” Vernick, author of Brothers at Bat (BCCB 6/12), takes a sly poke here at the popularity of animal-friendship stories, and kids with pesky siblings will likely see something of themselves in Bogart and Vinnie’s relationship (“Vhey had formed the kind of family where one member loves the other and one wants nothing more than to be left alone”). The ending loses a bit of steam, but the manically eager Vinnie (“I love you! I’m Vinnie! Hi!”) is a giggleworthy protagonist throughout. Cole’s illustrations, a luminous mix of acrylic paints, ink, and colored pencil, are classically cartoonish, usually broken into fast-moving panels thick with speech-balloon dialogue (mostly from goofy, enthusiastic Vinnie). Keen eyes will appreciate the subtle indications in Bogart’s facial expressions that he’s just waiting for all this to go away. The comic-style approach and sustained irreverence will make this appealing to kids just beginning to discover that books know how to be sarcastic too. DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.