Saturday, September 15, 2007

Picture Book Review: The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder

It seems ages since I last posted a review of a children’s picture book. Today, I thought I’d write a review of the The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder, a book sure to set readers chuckling. A few weeks ago I stopped by the Banbury Cross Children’s Book Shop. Upon entering the shop, I saw a big display for The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder. Pat Purdy, owner of the shop, told me she liked the sequel even better than Chowder—and I can see why. The acrylic and pencil illustrations are so well done and so funny that I think even children who can’t read would enjoy just looking at the illustrations. I did!
Written and illustrated by Peter Brown
Little, Brown

This second tale about Chowder has the lovable canine going off to the Fabu Pooch Boot Camp where he just doesn’t fit in. One day Ms. Fabu, the lady in charge of the boot camp, informs the dogs in residence that they are all going to be competing in the camp’s dog show, the First Annual Fabu Pooch Pageant. Chowder figures it’s a lost cause. He can’t compare to the other perfect pooches. But when Ms. Fabu informs the campers that the winner will receive a one-year supply of tasty Snarf Snacks, his favorite doggy treats, Chowder is determined to do his best to beat out his elegant competitors. How can he make himself a pageant winner? Well…Chowder’s attempts to beautify himself—you guessed it—just don’t work. Then he remembers that Ms. Fabu had always encouraged the dogs to follow their dreams. And Chowder’s biggest dream is to be an acrobat. When he comes upon a trampoline behind the barn, Chowder is instantly enamored. I guess you could say that it’s love at first bounce! While the other dogs are primping and working on their posture, Chowder becomes one with the trampoline and perfects his acrobatic technique.

Then the day of the pageant arrives:

“All the other campers were in top form.
Lola’s smile was sparkling.
Beverly’s hair was breathtaking.
Snapper’s posture was superb.”

When it’s Chowder’s turn to strut his stuff, the stage curtains open on a trampoline…but there’s no Chowder in sight. The audience begins to grow restless. Then they hear a bark from on high. Chowder is perched on the roof of the barn. He dives from that great height dead center onto the trampoline. He bounces high into the air, spins in a corkscrew, does a flying cartwheel, and three backward flips. Our canine protagonist finishes with a flourish: "The Chowderian Bounce." The audience goes wild. They love his acrobatics! Chowder’s a real crowd pleaser—but not the winner of the pageant! No, that honor goes to the beautiful Beverly…along with a year’s supply of Snarf Snacks. Don’t be disheartened, Chowder fans. The drooling bull dog gets a consolation prize—the Best Bouncer in Show Award. He also gets a lifetime supply of his favorite doggy treats when he becomes the “official spokesdoggy of the Snarf Snacks Company.”

Peter Brown’s droll acrylic and pencil illustrations add to the fun of this lighthearted doggy tale. His illustrations of pampered pooches sunbathing by a pool, pageant queen Beverly sitting under a hair dryer after getting a perm, and Lola flossing her teeth are a riot! You’ll laugh out loud at pictures of Chowder swimming in a pool with water wings, doing doggy acrobatics on the trampoline, and posing in curlers while saliva drips from his limp pink tongue.

Sometimes you just need a good laugh…or two…or three. The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder provides them in abundance. The book has humor to tickle the funny bones of children and adults alike.

Click here to visit Chowder and His Friends.


Charlotte said...

Thanks for contributing this post to the September Carnival of Children's Literature, now up and running at my blog!

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for hosting the September Carnival of Children's Literature!