No Dogs Allowed!-Jon J Muth, Sonia Manzano

  • Title: No Dogs Allowed!
  • Author: Jon J Muth, Sonia Manzano
  • Released: 2004-04-01
  • Language:
  • Pages: 32
  • ISBN: 0689830882
  • ISBN13: 978-0689830884
  • ASIN: 0689830882

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From School Library Journal Kindergarten-Grade 3–Everything is a production for Iris's extended Puerto Rican family and several of their neighbors. Readers know this almost immediately as the girl describes their convoluted trek from a Bronx neighborhood to the "Enchanted State Park." Everyone brings as much as he or she can carry, from a deli counter to a copy of War and Peace. When they finally arrive, Iris discovers that her dog, El Exigente, is not allowed in the park and each person takes a turn dog-sitting him in the parking lot until the busy day ends. Muth's lively watercolor illustrations do much for this overwritten and too-earnest story. They imbue the characters with personality and extend the humor of the tale. One spread shows a seemingly endless line of colorful, heavily packed cars stretching from end to end. When the travelers get lost, the accompanying picture shows their cars on a maze of intersecting roads that wind around to spell out "oops." The illustrations take varying perspectives, from ground-level shots to aerial angles. They effectively portray the numerous characters, bringing individuals to the foreground as if being viewed through a camera. The expressive artwork makes this mediocre story seem to be much more than it actually is.–Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY
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From Gr. 1-3. Though its cover is emblazoned with "Written by MARIA from Sesame Street," there's nary a Muppet to be found inside Manzano's picture-book debut. Instead, readers will find a fanciful, urban tall tale about a Latino family's expedition from the Bronx to the beach, narrated by six-year-old Iris. The dog, extended family, and "neighbors from the tri-state area" all come along, too, toting everything from a multicourse banquet and a piano to a traveling game of dominoes. A series of obstacles (engine trouble, a navigational mishap, a beach marked "No Dogs Allowed") intensify the participants' appreciation for the fleeting fun in the sun they finally enjoy. Muth, illustrator of Old Turtle and the Broken Truth (2003) and other books, captures the silliness to perfection, buoying up Manzano's overlong text with his distinctive, spidery line-and-watercolor images. The humor of a simple outing that balloons into a fiesta may resonate most strongly with families for whom "small" and "family gathering" are contradictions in terms, but the anything-goes sensibility has universal appeal. Jennifer Mattson
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