What It Is

Bailey’s not like any other dog. He has his own bedroom, sleeps in a “human” bed and goes to school every day. Bailey, the only dog at school, does just what all the other kids do, such as ride the bus, learn math and enjoy lunch in the cafeteria, among other typical school activities. Like most kids, Bailey gets into his share of harmless trouble. For example, he pops the kids’ kickball, thinking it’s a chew toy, and makes a mess after dipping his tail in paint during art class. In all, Bailey is just “one of the kids.”

Why It’s Fun

I was drawn to this new release at the BookExpo America trade show because of its fantastic illustrations, and they did not disappoint. Harry Bliss’ drawings have a traditional “funny pages” feel and lots of great expression in his characters. However, I found the story line to be thin. Bailey has a lot of activity throughout the book, but the details don’t seem to gel into a cohesive story. There isn’t a “lesson,” which is fine, but the story doesn’t build to a peak and conclusion either. The school day simply ends and so does the story. Also, I was left wondering why is Bailey the only animal allowed to attend school? No explanation is offered.

Who’s Going To Love It

This book is worth checking out at your local library and would appeal to the younger end of the publisher’s recommended age range. Kids on the older end typically like more of a plot to sink their teeth into. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the dog pun.) The story also doesn’t flow as smoothly as a read-aloud book ought. All of the dialogue between Bailey, the teacher and his classmates is done through speech and thought bubbles, and it’s hard for the reader to meaningfully distinguish between what is said and what is thought for children.

Reading Time

About 2-3 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

4 out of 10

Book Information

By: Written and Illustrated by Harry Bliss
Published by: Scholastic (2011)
Approximate retail price: $16.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 4 - 8


What do you think about Bailey?

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