release date: Sep 01, 2003
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Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (LaRue Books)
When Ike Larue is "imprisoned" at the Igor Brotweiler Canine Academy, he tries everything to get sent home--weepy letters to his owner, even illness. In reality, Brotweiler is more like camp than prison, but still, Ike's not cut out for life w/o Mrs. Larue & his creature comforts. Finally, he runs away only to find himself back in Snort City--just in time to save Mrs. Larue's life.Teague is at the top of his fetching form in this madcap comedy where the real world of Brotweiler & the one Ike imagines are brilliantly depicted thru split-screen visuals, the former in color & the latter in b&w.
Amazon.com Review
A clever book for a clever dog, Dear Mrs. LaRue collects a series of guilt-inducing letters sent home by the cat-chasing, chicken-pie-eating Ike to his "cruel" owner Mrs. LaRue, whom he hopes will come to her senses and spring him from obedience school.

Desperate to come home, Ike shows great enthusiasm for stretching the truth about his treatment at Brotweiler Canine Academy. Illustrator and author Mark Teague has developed a hilariously disdainful and dignified voice for the not-very-put-upon Ike, but Teague's most cunning innovation is the book's format: He splits each spread between what's really happening, done in color, and what Ike's imagining and exaggerating to Mrs. LaRue, in big thought bubbles using dramatic black and white. As Ike delivers his first letter, in his thought bubble we see Ike carted away in the Brotweiler Canine Academy paddy wagon ("We Aim to Tame"!), up a windy road to a scary-looking quasi-Transylvanian compound, complete with lightning and bats; in full-color reality, Brotweiler looks much more like the UCLA campus in spring bloom, with a sign pointing to the sauna (on the right) and the pool (on the left).

Ike's first carefully typed letter pleads, "How could you do this to me? This is a PRISON, not a school! You should see the other dogs. They are BAD DOGS, Mrs. LaRue! I do not fit in." Subsequent letters describe the staff ("The GUARDS here are all caught up in this 'good dog, bad dog' thing"), the "crimes" that landed him there ("I'd like to clear up some misconceptions about the Hibbins' cats. First, they are hardly the little angels Mrs. Hibbins makes them out to be. Second, how should I know what they were doing out on the fire escape in the middle of January? They were being a bit melodramatic, don't you think?"), and his eventual plans for escape ("I'm sorry it has come to this, since I am really a very good dog, but frankly you left me no choice"). Teague drew inspiration from a couple of sneaky dogs in his own life; kids and grownups reading Ike's tall tales might be reminded of loyal and misunderstood pooches of their own. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

Product details
BindingHardcover
Sales rank40880
Pages32
ManufacturerScholastic Press
EAN9780439206631
List price$17.99
Price$14.23

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