Monday, June 13, 2011

Tess and the Dog Star by Gene and Iris Rotberg

Tess and the Dog Star by Gene and Iris Rotberg is an utterly charming story that is certain to become an instant children's classic. The young girl around whom the story centers, Tess, decides to hold a contest for the best-dressed dog, inviting dogs from all over the world to compete. The dogs come in droves to show off their costumes, travelling by car, airplane, skateboard, train, bus, horseback, parachute, tricycle, and motorcycle from all corners of the world to Tess's house in Colorado.

Each of the dogs' outfits represents their culture or their breed; among some of the contestants are: a French Poodle, "dolled up in the highest fashion--in lipstick and high heels--very elegant", a Scottish Terrier in a kilt and playing the bagpipes, and a German Shepherd wearing lederhosen. The international contestants provide parents with a fun way to teach children about different cultures in a manner that is accessible and entertaining to them. All of the dogs have outfits that represent them so well that Tess has a difficult time choosing a winner and children enjoy attempting to pick their favorite before the winner is revealed. The ending is a surprise for parents and children alike, with a truly unexpected winner of Tess's contest.

Bryn Barnard's beautifully rendered illustrations truly bring the story and the dogs to life, portraying the dogs with such expressive and comical facial expressions that they become almost human and take on unique personalities. The illustrations make for a truly stimulating visual feast of color and whimsical fun. Families will delight in reading this story together, laughing at the comical pictures of the dogs in their outfits and enjoying story-time with a tale that will become one of your child's most treasured storybooks. Tess and the Dog Star is a fresh story for children and is an excellent addition to any young reader's collection.