________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 4 . . . . October 12, 2007


Pup and Hound Scare a Ghost. (Kids Can Read).

Susan Hood. Illustrated by Linda Hendry.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $5.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-143-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55337-142-4 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Dogs-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Shannon Ozirny.

*** /4

As the title suggests, Pup and Hound do scare a ghost, but not before the ghost scares them! Although this easy reader will undoubtedly have Halloween appeal, it is not a strictly seasonal text. This case of mistaken identity (a sheet for a ghost) will engage the youngest Pup and Hound fans all year long.

     While the rhymes in the “Pup and Hound” series are usually quite sturdy and straightforward, there is a bit of linguistic clumsiness in Pup and Hound Scare a Ghost:

You can't catch me!

it seemed to say.

Then it was up and up

And off and away!

     While the rhyme is still somewhat satisfying, it lacks the polish and vibrancy found in other Pup and Hound adventures. However, the book's ending does make up for some of the earlier, dragging rhymes.


Hound grabbed that sheet

and shook it around.

Never fool around

With Watchdog Hound!

Now Pup knows

just what to do

when spooky things

come flapping through.

He'll be like Hound

when he grows up.

Never fool around

with Watchdog Pup!

     Admittedly, the final picture of Pup wrestling a brightly-coloured sheet in broad daylight is quite hilarious. While the sheet/ghost mix-up may feel tired to us older readers, early beginners will surely benefit from this predictability.

     Illustrator Linda Hendry has wisely chosen dark blues to illustrate night-time in this safely spooky tale; black skies would just be too harsh for this cozy canine world. Also, Hendry does some wonderful work with shadows and light that bring depth to this temporarily scary night. The ghost/sheet also looks sufficiently artificial, and young readers will most likely guess the story's outcome long before the ending.

     While Pup and Hound Scare a Ghost does not quite meet the standard of other books in the series, it will make a worthwhile contribution to any librarian's Autumn/Halloween display. Hopefully Pup and Hound will complete the seasonal cycle by wagging their tails in a winter's tale.


Shannon Ozirny is a student in the Master of Children's Literature program at UBC. Like Pup and Hound, she has mistaken many common household items for frightening creatures.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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