Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook

illus. by Anne Vittur Kennedy. 32p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763674175. LC 2014953086.
PreS-Gr 2—There are many responsibilities for a farm dog. But new dogs shouldn't be nervous—they have the experienced Ragweed to give them guidance on how to be successful. His list of do's and don'ts can be tricky and sometimes go against a canine's instincts. For instance, don't wake up the farmer, don't sit on the chickens' nests, and don't eat grass like the cows. Ragweed is pretty cunning and has learned to use the other farm animals (and the farmer) to his advantage. He points out that if you can act like you are chasing a fox when you are running from the chickens' nests, then you will earn an extra reward from the farmer. And, of course, you have to share that reward with the fox. Ragweed waits to chase the sheep when the farmer is away so that he won't get in trouble for having fun. This book is very funny, with lots of energy and silliness. Kennedy reports the facts of the farm dog life and turns reader expectations upside down. The text is brief and full of emphasis. The depictions of Ragweed in his everyday life are just as funny as his thoughts. The setting is bucolic until Ragweed, with googly eyes and lolling tongue, enters. Then Ragweed chases, races, and flies through the air.
VERDICT This pup's irrepressible energy will win over plenty of readers and give them a fun look at life on a farm.

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