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Book review: Bad Boy, Good Boy

Written By | May 18, 2013

Silver Spring, Md, May 18, 2013 – Bad Boy, Good Boy by Kay Chorao ISBN: 9781419705205

This is four very short stories in one book. In each Sam, the main character gets into some sort of mischief, but in the end the people around him who are doing the scolding realize that his actions were helpful and well-intentioned. The story of the little dog getting in trouble because his actions are misunderstood is something that some children might be able to relate to. Just think about all the times when your child has been scolded for doing something he does not know is wrong.

Photo by J. Aaron Farr. Click to enlarge.


In the first story, “Found” Sam gets scolded for running through the garden, through the clean laundry on the clothes line, bumping Grandpa in the hammock and to a tree. He redoubles his steps and runs to his friend Olive’s house. She is crying because her hat blew away, and then we find out that all his running was so that he could retrieve the hat. The second story “Snack,” is the story of Sam helping his Grandpa cook a midnight snack, but getting into trouble for making a mess of the kitchen. “Leaves “ starts with an art lessons drawing leaves at school and turns into a paint fight. A storm strikes in “Nest,” and Sam ventures outside in his rain slicker and boots. His family goes out to get him and scold him for playing in the bad weather when they found he has build a new nest for a baby bird.

The animal characters are sure to engage young children, especially those who like dogs, since Sam and his family are dogs. Each individual story is very short, only about 7 pages, so if you have a little one with a short attention span this might be just the book for you. However, if you try to read all four back to back, you might find it a bit repetitive.

The artwork is fun and colorful. The characters have dynamic faces that are very expressive. While there are very few pages for each story, Chorao accomplishes more through using multiple panels on each page, similar to those used in comic books and graphic novels.

Kay Chorao is a children’s book veteran. Beginning her children’s publishing career in 1972, she has written and illustrated several of her own children’s books, as well as illustrating for other great children’s writers, like Jane Yolen and Judith Viorst.   Many of her earlier works have been placed on several best book lists, including The New York Time’s ten best children’s books of the year, and the American Library Association “Books to Grow On.”

Photo by Robynlou Kavanagh.


Published in May 2013 by Harry N. Abrams Inc, Bad Boy, Good Boy is available as a hardcover or an ebook.


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Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer, mother and reader. She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Find her on Twitter @BrighidMoret, or follow @BigReadsLittleH for the latest children's book reviews.