Monday, January 08, 2007

Murphy Jumps a Hurdle in Booklist

Ziefert, Harriet. Murphy Jumps a Hurdle. Illus. by Emily Bolam. Nov. 2006. 40p. Blue Apple, $15.95 (1-59354-174-0). K-Gr. 3.

In this new Murphy title (Murphy Goes to Paris, Murphy Meets the Treadmill), Murphy the dog faces a new challenge: agility training. With owner Cheryl's guidance, Murphy practices several stunts. Soon he feels ready to compete, and although he is disappointed that he doesn't get first place, he is ready to go work out harder and try again. From frustration to fun and training to competition, Murphy describes his experiences and feelings, all of which are depicted in charming, colorful, cartoonlike illustrations. The story is a bit thin, but the message about perseverance is a good one, and likable Murphy's new trials will appeal to fans of his previous books as well as young dog lovers and budding trainers--though let's hope they think twice before tossing a "wooden dumbbell" at a dog during a game of fetch, as Cheryl does with Murphy. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Booklist, November 1, 2006