The Barking Ballad: A Bark-Along Meow-Along Book by Julie Paschkis. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2021. 9781534492608
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Animal fiction/picture book
What did you like about the book? Lovely watercolor art and singsong rhyme tell a story of cat and dog love in this interactive picture book. The author took the fourth stanza of the 18th century poet Oliver Goldsmith’s poem “An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog” and built her own rhyming story around it. In a nutshell, a stray tabby cat rescues a stray dog when “One day a rock fell from above/and knocked the dog near dead.” The immediate caring attention of the cat mitigates any worries a reader may have about the violence of the accident – “With tender tongue and gentle love/the cat repaired his head.”
Cat and dog loving readers will enjoy this tale of stray animals taking care of one another. Lots of different dogs are depicted with adorably goofy expressions, along with the handsome tabby. There are symbols indicating when a reader can bark (when they see a red circle) or meow (when they see a yellow diamond). This adds a sweet participatory aspect to the story.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For families who enjoy rhyming stories, ages 3-7, and for cat and dog lovers.
Who should buy this book? Day care centers, elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near the top
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: December 16, 2021