Homer

by Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner
Orchard Books/Scholastic Inc., 2012
ISBN-10: 0545332729
ISBN-13: 978-0545332729
Ages 4 and up

Out of Print


CBC Children's Choice Finalist 2013

While his owner sleeps, Homer and his friends get ready for the big baseball game. Find out who will be the champions of the dog baseball world when Homer and the Doggers take on the mighty Hounds. When the Doggers can't even get a hit, it looks like the Hounds might win the game. Can Homer save the day?

Kirkus Reviews Alex and Homer live, breathe, and dream basball. But this is Homer's story. There's a big game tonight, one that would decide the league champion. Homer's team is down by three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Some nice hitting loads the bases, and needless to say Homer hits a grand slam. It's just a typical baseball tale. But the teams are the Hounds and the Doggers, and all the players are dogs of many breeds, as are the umpires, spectators and the announcer. The story is told with the briefest of simple phrases and sentences, some in speech balloons or thought bubbles, and illustrated with double-page spreads and album-like panels of digitally collaged photographs. The format is everything here. The digital art supplies the uniforms, banners, and other odds and ends, while the dogs have been photographed in myriad head poses and body positions. A few might have been digitally enhanced, but if so, they are seamless. Young readers will surely giggle at puns like, "It's going to be a ruff game!" There's also a distracting squirrel and a well placed fire hydrant. Alex awakes to find Homer in his usual place, but there's an autographed ball on the rug... Even the endpapers are part of the fun, taking the form of doggie baseball cards. A howlingly good time!

Publishers Weekly The team behind Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! returns with an even more outrageous canine adventure, illustrated with digitally enhanced photos to an almost comic book-like effect. On "one special night," golden retriever Homer sneaks out to join his teammates, the "Doggers," in a baseball game against the "Hounds" (endpapers feature baseball cards of the players from both teams, identifying their breeds.) The dogs assume human poses and wear digitally drafted uniforms as they take the field; meanwhile dog  fans yowl, yip, and enjoy ballpark treats in the bleachers. The artwork is filled with humorous details - from the border terrier Rocket relieving himself on a fire hydrant before hitting a single, to a close-up of Homer, clutching the bat as his fans swoon. The game-time tension, along with the innate goofiness of the artwork, could make this a dog-eared favorite.

School Library Journal Homer is a golden retriever who loves baseball. And he has a secret. At night he meets with his friends to play the game. On this particular evening, it's the Hounds versus the Doggers, with nothing less than the championship at stake. After an inauspicious start, the Doggers come from behind, thanks to Homer's grand slam, and become the new champions. Incorporating the same photographic and digital art technique they used in Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! (Scholastic, 2009), the authors have crafted a story that plays with many of the trademark details of a baseball game. When one player draws a walk, he is literally walked-on a leash-to first base. The dogs in the stands sport foam paws and pennants as they "yip and yowl for the home team." A plaque in the Doggers club bears the names of players who have made the "Howl of Fame," and the endpapers feature baseball cards showing both teams. The illustrations are quite humorous, with many of the pups' expressions just perfect for the situation at hand: a bug eyed bulldog umpire calling an enthusiastic "Strike!"; a sheepish-looking terrier trudging back to the dugout after striking out; a determined Homer on the scent of a game-winning hit. While the story can easily be shared with a group, the fun of the book is in the independently poring over the many, many dogs taking part in the story. Sure to have wide appeal.