As hard as he tries, Chowder has never managed to fit in with the other neighborhood dogs. While the neighborhood dogs are content to fetch newspapers and take walks, Chowder spends his days on the computer, dancing with his headphones, and using his favorite toy of all, his telescope. But being different makes Chowder lonely. When a petting zoo opens, Chowder is determined to make friends with the zoo animals. And with a strong kick and a flying leap, Chowder finally finds a place where he can be comfortable being his silly, slobbery self.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Chowder is not like most bulldogs. Instead of burying bones, he busily arranges them into a skeletal formation, as an archaeologist would. He gets about town with his doting owners in the type of backpack that a toddler would ride in, and he uses the toilet like a human. His "quirkiness" leads the neighborhood canines to conclude that he would be better off in a zoo, so it is with mounting excitement that he spots the grocery store's new "Critter Corral" through his balcony telescope and looks forward to making friends there. Brown's static, acrylic-and-pencil compositions and the repetition of visual elements across the page yield strong designs. The rounded figures and precise patterning suggest a Playmobil world, with a touch of texture. The scenes depicted through the telescope are circular close-ups, framed in black. The parting shot, showing how Chowder communicates with his new friends even when they can't be together, requires a bit of visual sophistication, as does the book in general. Its wacky comedy and the quest for acceptance will best be appreciated by those who've been around the block a few times. Fans of Anthony Browne and Craig Frazier will sit up and beg for more.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library