Bailey by Harry Bliss. Scholastic (August 2011); ISBN 9780545233446; 32 pages
"Try not to lick anyone today." That's good advice for someone attending school, particularly if that someone is a dog. Harry Bliss' new book introduces young readers to Bailey, a cute dog that attends school with school children. Just like the regular kids, Bailey prepares for and spends an entire day at Champlain Elementary school. He picks out his apparel (a red dog collar), rides the bus (with his head out the window), shares some of his favorite things (garbage, YUCK!), and paints and sings with the best of them. He even gives an impressive report on Fala, Franklin D. Roosevelt's dog. Bailey fits in at school and the kids treat him as an equal, even though he ruins their kickball game and eats garbage at lunch.
Bliss' book is all about fun, nothing more, nothing less, and Bailey is an extremely likeable character. Any kid that has attended school will be able to identify with Bailey and will find a lot humor in the author's portrayal of an average school day. Bliss pulls from his comics background and uses speech balloons to accompany the easy-to read text, making the book perfect for beginning elementary readers. Preschool kids all the way up to early elementary age will enjoy reading about Bailey's day at school. Make sure to look closely at the illustrations, and you'll find even more things to smile about. My kids think it is hilarious that Bailey loudly sings Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" in music class and they request that I sing a rendition when I read the story aloud.
Besides his work in the children's book world, Bliss is a cover artist for The New Yorker and also a cartoonist. His syndicated cartoon panel is titled "Bliss." In the Fall Picture Books Scholastic Librarian Preview video Bliss says that Schulz's Snoopy cartoon character is part of the inspiration behind his book about Bailey. It's easy to point out the similarities. Like Snoopy, Bailey never speaks but thought balloons clue the reader into what he is thinking. Both dogs wear a collar and have floppy ears. Unlike Snoopy, Bailey does not seem to have an owner and lives in a deluxe dog house.
Coincidentally, Bliss' first children's book A Fine, Fine School (written by Sharon Creech) also briefly pictures a dog at school. Doesn't the illustration look almost exactly the same as the Bailey cover art?
Harry Bliss - Author Website
Harry Bliss - Facebook
My daughter is always hungry after a day at school so I thought we'd make some fun treats inspired by Bliss' book. We made chalkboard graham crackers by spreading chocolate chips on top of a graham cracker. We wrote on our chalkboards by squeezing melted white chocolate out of the corner of a plastic bag. Our edible Bailey dog head is made out of a sliced pear, with blueberry craisins eyes, M&Ms nose, and a red pepper collar.
Go Back To School with BAILEY! Scholastic has kindly offered to sponsor a special Bailey giveaway.
One (1) winner will receive:
· A Bailey Lunchbox and copy of the new book Bailey by Harry Bliss
Two (2) additional winners will receive:
· A copy of the new book Bailey by Harry Bliss
To enter the contest, leave a comment related to this post or let me know the title your favorite school themed children's book.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
• Contest is open to US
• Contest ends on Monday, September 19th, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winners will be chosen at random and sent email notifications.
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)