Patricia Vermillion, author
Cheryl Pilgrim, illustrator
Texas Christian University Press
TCU Box 298300, Fort Worth, Texas 76129
9780875656151, $21.95, www.prs.tcu.edu
"Hound Dawg" is a delicious Southern version of the familiar tale "The Little Red Hen," in which a Red Hen works hard to create and bake a loaf of bread, then eats it herself because her lazy animal friends refused to help her with the work. "Hound Dawg" is the fascinating story of a lazy hound dawg who loved corn bread but never did anything to help make it. His friends Bessie the cow, Calico the cat, and Penny the hen wind up doing all the work of watering and hoeing the corn plant, then harvesting the corn, and making the corn bread. Hound Dawg does nothing but make suggestions, in a very southern drawl. Finally the corn bread is baked and cooling on the window sill and Hound Dawg hints, "I'm starving for some good ol' southern cornbread." But all his friends tell him he did nothing to help "a-tall," so he should not get even a crumb. Dejected, Hound Dawg sinks under the porch, only to sense ... an intruder! Off like a shot Hound Dawg chases the thieving Racoon who has designs on the hot corn bread! "Well, shake my mile," Bessie declared. "Hound Dawg isn't so lazy after all. He's a guard dawg." And ever after that, "Hound Dawg always does--and gets--his fair share." Amusing illustrations with bits of fabric collage help heighten the twangy country tone of this rollicking tale, and dialogue with lots of Southern twists flavors the mix. "Hound Dawg" comes with additional pages of Facts about Cotton, Facts About Corn, a recipe for Texas cornbread, objectives for student learning, and a bibliography, making learning an effortless pleasure for young readers.