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Annotation: Chowder the bulldog has never fit in with the other neighborhood canines, but he sees a chance to make friends with the animals at the local petting zoo.
Catalog Number: #13077
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition Date: 2006
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-01180-0 Perma-Bound: 0-605-11883-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-01180-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-11883-6
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2005035616
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Everyone (except his doting owners) thinks Chowder the bulldog is odd; he prefers reading newspapers to fetching them and loves gazing through his owners' telescope. One day he spies a petting zoo sign and hopes he can find some friends. Retro-style illustrations, varied design, and the occasional use of different typefaces add even more humor to this quirky celebration of individuality.
Kirkus Reviews
The very first page of this decidedly different dog story lets the reader know that Chowder the bulldog does things his own way. There he is in his bathroom sitting on the toilet, or rather using the toilet, as the seat is up. The text states that both people and dogs "thought he was just plain weird," and that Chowder wants to fit in with his canine pals, but doesn't, due to his different interests. Chowder assembles dog bones into a dinosaur skeleton, reads the newspaper and uses a computer and a telescope. When Chowder discovers a new petting zoo (though there are no people there to pet the animals), he finds a more diverse and accepting group of animals to play with. Chowder plays new games with them on their territory, forgetting about his computer and his newspaper. Though the acrylic-and-pencil illustrations have a droll attraction, Chowder himself is not a particularly appealing character. He has mean eyes and a scary countenance, particularly on the cover, where he looks like he'd like to bite an unsuspecting reader. (Picture book. 4-7)
Publishers Weekly

Chowder, an English bulldog, baffles everybody with his precocious behavior. He uses the toilet and the computer, and while regular dogs chew bones, he excavates a dinosaur skeleton. His doting owners, Madge and Bernie Wubbington, tote him in a baby backpack; they "liked to think of him as quirky, but most people thought he was just plain weird." One day, lonesome Chowder spies a billboard for a megamart's new petting zoo: "All the neighborhood dogs had said Chowder belonged in a zoo, and he wondered if they were right." In bizarre events involving the supermarket and a kickball game, Chowder befriends the Critter Corral's captive pony, cow, sheep and others. With mixed results, Brown (Flight of the Dodo) invests food shopping and zoo life with excitement. He composes smooth, meticulous paintings, and softens his sculpted pencil edges with a faint acrylic fuzz. Chowder's owners are disco-era throwbacks; their dorkiness helps account for Chowder's uniqueness, although the nerd jokes and the retro palette might be lost on younger readers. Brown pictures Chowder with melancholy jowls and sad, squeezed eyes; the most sympathetic pictures show his beady eyes widening and a drippy tongue lolling happily from his bulldozer-scoop underbite. Bulldog lovers may find Chowder endearing, but despite his offbeat pursuits, he remains elusive, and the convoluted, upbeat outcome feels like wishful thinking. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)

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 Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Chowder has always been different. It's hard to disagree when the illustration shows Chowder the bulldog doing his business on the toilet. But that's not the only way he stands out: he rides mechanical horses, and though other dogs collect bones, he uses them in paleontology projects. His devoted owners, the Wubbingtons, are perhaps responsible for his singularity: they carry him in a baby pack and let him use their computer. Still, he longs for animal friends, so when a petting zoo opens, he eagerly makes a visit. Alas, while trying to play with the animals, he kicks their ball into a tree, thus alienating his potential pals. But distressed Chowder makes a comeback when he spots the ball in a tree and valiantly attempts to retrieve it. Yes, he starts to fall, but the other animals rescue him. Everything works here. The tongue-in-cheek humor melds delightfully with Brown's distinctive acrylic-and-pencil artwork. The characters have such a sturdy appearance, they look as though they could be carved from wood, and high-gloss finish gives the art a computer-enhanced look. Inventive is the best word to describe the design when Brown uses the book's gutter to move Chowder from the zoo's bathroom (where he's doing his business again) to the tree. But along with the glitz, there's also a real story here, starring a winsome protagonist.
Word Count: 931
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 109411 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.4 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q39912
Lexile: AD950L
Guided Reading Level: N
Fountas & Pinnell: N

Chowder is a hilarious and heartwarming story that introduces an endearing new character: a weird but completely loveable bulldog who learns to make friends by being true to his quirks.

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