What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the lesson of what happens when one disregards warnings is soft-pedaled.
What's the story?
Positively No Dogs Allowed, reads the sign in front of the magician's garden, but Fritz breaks free from Alan and disappears among the mysterious topiary bushes and paths. What happens to the dog? Chris Van Allsburg's award-winning drawings lead readers to the answer.
Is it any good?
Spooky houses and gardens populate every child's neighborhood, and in this story, the hero must face his fears to retrieve the bad dog he's responsible for. The lesson of what happens when one disregards warnings is soft-pedaled. Readers may be confused about what Chris Van Allsburg was trying to say: Is this about the consequences of breaking the rules, or is it simply about a child's sense of enchantment? Maybe both.
However, Van Allsburg's drawings are clearly terrific. Drawn in black and white and all shades between, the pictures have depth and grandeur -- like the one of the magician's house, which rises high into the sky. Van Allsburg has captured the story's eeriness with shadowed paths, looming topiary, and an imposing magician.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the consequences of breaking the rules. Kids: When have you broken the rules? What happened?