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Jo Bogart. Illustrated by Janet Wilson.
Toronto, ON: North Winds Press, 1990.
24pp., laminated boards, $11.95.
ISBN 0-590-73344-3. Also available in French as: Fabrice et la chienne fantôme. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Brothers and sisters-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Patricia Fry.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

This book deals effectively with that age-old problem, the displacement of the first-born when the second child arrives. With his mother so busy, Daniel has lots of time to play with his toys, but it's his imaginary dog that helps him cope so well with his loneliness. One evening, as his mother is tucking him into bed, she apologizes for spending so little time with him and assures him that the situation will improve. Daniel just smiles and says he's fine since Lucy, his ghost dog, arrived to keep him company.

After meeting Lucy, Daniel's mother makes a greater effort to include Daniel in the baby's daily care. He is asked to check the baby, he gets a diaper for her, reads a story to her while she's being fed, and finally holds her. The book ends when Daniel's friend Norman wishes that he too had a special someone to keep him company and Daniel arranges for him to have Lucy's friend, a shaggy dog named Max.

The illustrations deserve special mention. They really bring the story alive with their bright colours and attention to detail. Particularly intriguing is the way the ghost dog is drawn. Lucy is so easy to see yet she blends right into the background! Janet Wilson is also very talented at depicting expressions - from wistful to angry to content - and that makes the characters even more appealing.

The book is set up with text on one page and a full-colour illustration on the facing page. It's an excellent choice for a read-aloud selection at the Primary level because most children can identify with Daniel's loneliness and because the illustrations are so eye catching. It's also worth noting that Daniel and his family are black and that might be another reason for including this title in a collection.

Highly recommended.

Patricia Fry, Port Credit, ON.
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