Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Release Spotlight: Catching Boo

Catching Boo by Joanne Rowlinson
Illustrations by Mari Brown

What happens when a husband and wife who live by a lake want a dog, get a dog, and lose a dog? According to Catching Boo, the verdict still isn’t out. While the book by Joanne Rowlinson tries to answer these questions with rhyme and repetition, the result is an effort that is attempted but not fully realized.

At the center of all this is Boo, a dog who comes into the lives of a middle-aged couple when they want him most. When Boo runs away, the duo try their best to find him, and are helped along the way by a colorful band of well-meaning but ineffective neighbors (“ ‘We’ll trap him I know,’ said the boy with a net. ‘It works on T.V.’ It had no effect.”) until, magically, Boo is found and back to stay. While these characters give the book a certain textured and vibrant feel, the true meat of the story is never addressed or explained. We never know where Boo came from, why he ran away, and most of all, why he came back. These questions are at the heart of the story and because they are never answered, the resolution of Boo coming back to the family is less powerful and deserved than it could be.

That’s not to say this book isn’t worth the read. The watercolor illustrations by Mari Brown are both quirky and expertly rendered, which made me want to keep turning every page. Perhaps the cutest thing of all is a little sparrow that appears on every page and assists in the search for Boo, which will surely delight children and adults alike. Rowlinson also does a good job with repetition in her text, which will appeal to younger readers, and succeeds in creating a varied cast of original characters who embody what it must be like to live in a close-knit, lakeside community. As this was based on a true story, and a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Humane Society, the real meaning here may be in the generosity and selflessness of an entire community, rather than why a dog may have run away.

Review by Andrea Deeken, Indigo Editing, LLC

ISBN 978-0-9739962-2-7
Publisher: Pipsqueak Publishing
Pub date: Forthcoming
Hardcover: $18.95

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