Cooped up indoors, a child and a dog track down a broad array of objects.
Toby, a small gray dog with white and black highlights and fitted with a protective lampshade collar, can’t go out because his paw is injured. Tilly, a pale pink child with rosy cheeks and dark brown pigtails, must stay inside “until the big storm passe[s].” Their house is huge and gloomy with nary an adult in sight—what can they do? Staying indoors, they explore, looking for items related to the outdoors. Behind “doors that had always seemed closed” and drawers they’ve never touched, they find “dusty things long forgotten” and “things they had not noticed”: a skateboard, a cane, roller skates, broken umbrellas, and a deflated wading pool. They “tweak…and twiddle” their treasures into a glorious contraption: “The most amazing, astounding, and spectacular Dog-Walking, Storm-Protecting Machine!” Tilly and Toby’s quandary and solution may provide acknowledgement and inspiration for readers spending loads of involuntary time indoors during the coronavirus pandemic—although those readers are unlikely to live in Tilly and Toby’s countryside setting, which has no streets, buildings, or other houses. Garland’s copious and varied rough-but-soft textures on every surface enhance the feeling of rain outdoors and a day that’s hard to swim through while the gently bright colors show Tilly’s creativity and the still-present possibility of fun. The unnecessarily explicit message at the closing is easy to skim over.
Encouraging and timely.
(Picture book. 3-8)
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 40
Publisher: Sunbird Books
Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020