The title, Dogku, and the cover picture of a cute dog wistfully staring into a house are clues but not to what you might guess. This is no canine Sudoku; it's a shaggy dog story told in haiku. When a homeless dog shows up at the back door, a family takes him in, feeds and bathes him, and names him Mooch. Mooch laps up all the attention, but will his bouncy doggie antics send him to the pound? Bowers' lively oil paintings are, well, doggone charming. Expressions and body language are on target and animate the short, snappy text. The pet experience is a clever, fun introduction to the poetic form and an engaging lead-in to a class writing exercise. An author's note provides background on haiku. Adorable dog / seeks a family and a home / wagging tail, ace tale.
Adults may find Double Trouble in Walla Walla fun to read aloud. The simple plot revolves around a young girl who is sent to the principal's office when she can't stop speaking in hyphenated slang words; e.g., higgledy-piggledy, mish-mash, nit-wit, etc. As it turns out, her teacher, the school nurse, and the principal seem to come down with the same affliction and, before finding a solution, run through a veritable compendium of hyphenated words and nonsense phrases, most of which rhyme. Those reading aloud should prepare themselves for the inevitable outpouring of similar words from the audience. Murdocca's bled double-page, lively watercolors on oversized pages are chockablock with cartoon characters and details to pore over, adding even more humor to the amusing story. Side-splitting fun.