Paolo, Emperor of Rome

Abrams. Mar. 2020. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419741098.
PreS-Gr 1–Life as a house pet bores Paolo, who knows he’s destined for greatness, so the diminutive dachshund escapes to make his mark on Rome. There, he finds the Colosseum, the opera, temples, statues—and danger. Perils that would send lesser dogs scurrying don’t faze Paolo, who stares down a cranky tabby and takes command over a pack of snarling curs. After diving into the Trevi Fountain to rescue six nuns from drowning, he becomes a hero. In thanks, the pope installs him in a lavish apartment, but Paolo’s wild spirit can’t be tamed, and soon he’s off on more adventures. Keane constructs an elegant cityscape, her playful, thick linework adding whimsy, while Barnett narrates with poetic flair and a hilariously epic flavor (“I am Paolo, that escaped from his prison and is like the wolf come to life”).
VERDICT In a single day, Paolo wins over the dogs of Rome, its people, and the pope; he’ll just as easily endear himself to readers.

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