As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

April 16, 2013

PAINTER AND UGLY by Robert J. Blake, 2011

Painter and Ugly are best friends. They run together, they swim together, they eat out of the same dinner bowls. When one calls out, "Yip," the other answers back. They are inseparable! That is, until they are forced apart and put on two different teams for the junior Iditarod. But nothing can keep them apart. When during the race Painter finds a boy musher alone, stranded on the trail, he calls out, "Yip!" and Ugly answers his call. These old friends team up to finish the race, together again, side by side. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Julie, Children's Lit. enthusiast and pop culture geek

Inspired by true events, PAINTER AND UGLY by Robert J. Blake is a story of friendship that can survive any circumstances.  Raised in Alaska to take part in the Junior Iditarod, sled dogs Painter and Ugly (both named after an unfortunate mess in painting their sleeping crates) are the best of friends.  They do everything together and are connected by their own code: a soft yipping noise that they use to communicate wherever they are.  However, when the dogs are separated to different racing teams, they miss each other desperately—until they find a way to reunite at the big race.

Complemented by beautiful oil paintings, the text captures the landscape and spirit of Alaska.  The images of snow are so beautiful and textured, making each page a wonder to examine.  The book includes information about Blake’s research there, making it an interesting opportunity for children to learn about an extremely different way of life within the US.  The illustrations of the dogs are particularly amazing: any dog lover will recognize the authenticity of movement, facial expressions, and diversity Blake captures in his depiction of the sled dogs.  The underlying message of friendship is strong and relatable to any child, particularly those who connect with animals on a deep level. 

Market: Picture Book
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: None
Mature Themes: None

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found this book at the library after reading your review, and my girls and I loved it! Beautiful illustrations...