Little Brown

illus. by Marla Frazee. 40p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481425223.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—Little Brown feels isolated at the dog park. The other dogs play and communicate with one another while he sits alone next to the chain-link fence. Frazee poses the conundrum: is his grouchiness the reason he's left alone or does being friendless put him in a perpetually bad mood? Fed up with being ignored, Little Brown suddenly and methodically seizes all the toys the other animals have been enjoying. Astounded at his actions, they all sit and stare at him in confusion as he perches, King of the Mountain–style, on top of his toy-hostage haul. Illustrations in gouache and black Prismacolor are in muted shades of gray, tan and rust. Thought bubbles let readers in on the dogs' bewilderment and indecision on what to do about their situation. And their decision is classic. The endpapers show every one of the 17 dogs pictured and labeled with its name, except for Little Brown whose photo has a question mark attached to it.
VERDICT An open-ended story that creates a great starting point for meaningful discussion with young children about bullying and inclusion.

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