Odd Dog Out

Harper. Dec. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062367266.
PreS-Gr 2–In a city of nearly identical dachshunds dressed in the same striped suits, or as clad as “swimmer[s], sailor[s], soldier[s], scout[s],” one dog “is dancing to a different beat.” Unlike the other canines, this one wears a colorful scarf and a beanie, and insists on doing everything her way, whether it’s throwing a soccer ball instead of kicking it, or playing a guitar when everyone else is playing violin. Feeling out of place, she decides to leave her hometown and find another place where she might fit in. After a long search, she comes to “Doggywood” where nearly every dog is exactly like her, but one. Initially feeling sad for this interloper, she learns instead to enjoy being unique. With this newfound wisdom, she returns to her hometown where all the other dogs decide to celebrate their differences as well. Biddulph’s mixed media and digital illustrations feel dizzying at times with their mix of busy graphics and bright colors, but the patterned repetition of identical dogs serves well to highlight the nonconformity of the lone protagonist.
VERDICT Though the message of this story itself isn’t terribly unique, it is a positive riff on the “be yourself” theme told in pleasant rhymes that can find a place in many collections.

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