FICTION

This Is Gus

Penguin Workshop. May 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593097366.
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PreS-K–Gus is a grumpy, stubborn dog with a furrowed brow. Food doesn’t excite him. Neither does attention, taking walks, fetching sticks, or making friends. Things change at Gus’s birthday party when he is given a tiny dog as a companion. The new puppy is the spitting image of Gus, except with a smile and eager eyes. Once this puppy arrives, the reader realizes that he is the one narrating the story. The puppy becomes convinced that Gus now enjoys life and really likes having him as a friend. However, the illustrations show that Gus’s expressions haven’t changed even though the puppy always looks hopeful and excited. Finally, the puppy divulges that there is one thing that Gus loves—sausages. The puppy’s faith in Gus is rewarded when Gus pushes one sausage in his direction. Chatterton’s illustrations are bright, colorful and simple, allowing the expressions of the two dogs to be the focus on each page.
VERDICT The easy-to-read text and the tongue-in-cheek illustrations will empower beginning readers and make all children smile.

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