Honey & Leon Take the High Road

Random. Apr. 2019. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399558009.
PreS-Gr 1–This sequel to The Adventures of Honey and Leon takes an already thin premise and stretches it to the breaking point. When titular dogs Honey and Leon discover that their human “dads” are about to set off on another trip, they buy plane tickets, put on disguises, and shadow the men as they travel by plane, train, and boat to a remote island for a family visit. It is quickly revealed that the dads are aware of the dogs’ subterfuge, and the pups have a great time “protecting” their owners, with Honey finding time for a romantic fling and Leon saving the day in a fog. The text is trite, the plot is preposterous, and the jokes and much of the content are clearly winks to the adult audience. The illustrations are appealing, with a long-armed flowing look reminiscent of Ludwig Bemelmans’s work. Shaffer does a wonderful job with both point of view and variations of layout, including one page with three stacked images of the protagonists on a boat, a train, and a plane. Unfortunately, the art can’t save the text, which includes the dogs dramatically saving their vegan dad from being served soup with ham in it, and a plot point that turns on Leon smelling gluten-free bagels.
VERDICT This work of whimsy is clearly a celebrity vehicle, and even as a sequel, it falls flat. Libraries where the first book is popular may want to consider this one. Everyone else can pass on this sub-par sequel

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