Stanley's Wild Ride by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Bill Slavin
The Plot: Stanley is in the yard, minding his business, longing for "something exciting. Something ... MORE." (Kind of like Debbie from Criss Cross.) Stanley takes action; digs a hole; and runs for it. He gathers up his friends and they have a dogs night out.
The Good: Each of the dogs escapes it's yard a different way.
And I love what "dogs gone wild" do: they eat tasty garbage, soak the tires of a fancy car; chase a cat up a tree.
They are on top of the world -- rather, the Big Hill. "We can see the whole world from here!" Stanley discovers a "thing". A skateboard. Stanley gets on and the next thing he knows, each of his pals has also found a wheeled vehicle and off they go!
The dog on the skateboard cracks me up.
I love Bill Slavin's illustrations. When Stanley is moping in his yard at the start, the picture takes up the entire 2 page spread; an airplane going across the sky is in the shape of a bone. When he runs away, and helps the others run away, things get a bit more claustrophobic. The pages contain a lot of white space, showing only the escape attempts. Once all the dogs are free, the pictures once again take up both pages.
I like how the illustrations track the text. When the dogs are doing anything they want, the illustration show the dogs eating garbage, soaking tires, chasing cats. And when Stanley starts his wild ride on the skateboard, his look is a priceless mix of "what have I gotten myself into" and "hey, I think I like this."
At the end, when Stanley is once again confined to the the yard, once again an airplane is making its way across the sky.
This time, it's in the shape of a skateboard. I adore this type of detail.
While Queen Lucy will love this because it's about animals, Skater Boy will adore it for the skateboard action.
Author interview at Kids Can Press; this will work well with the Paws Claws Scales and Tales collaborative summer reading theme.