The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town by Mary Casanova; Illustrated by Ard Hoyt

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Casanova, Mary. The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town. Illustrated by Ard Hoyt. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, c2011.


Dirk Yeller is looking for remedies for cat scratch fever he stumbles across a boy that might be able to help him. Both the commentary and the text use an old western tone. The story goes through different stores looking for different remedies, and it keeps children guessing what Yeller will look for next. The words are easy enough to understand, however there are some words that are abbreviated on purpose to give the old west tone. The illustrations are simplistic and cartoonish. The usage of lines are very predominate. Not only do the lines outline everything, but short thin lines shadow everything giving it a pseudo movement. The clothing on the people in the illustrations as well as the building’s, prop’s and backgrounds depict what one may think the old west should look like. Color isn’t as strong of a usage in this book, probably to keep the focus on the line usage. Some pages are double page spreads, some single, and in some cases illustrations are surrounded by white space. The text is placed in no particular spot, just where there is enough blank space without a lot of usage of colors. The illustrator has done a lot of illustrations for books such as Utterly Otterly Day, The Hair of Zoe, and Daniel Boone’s Great Escape to name a few. In all of his illustrations you get lots of usage of line. In this particular book, the text and the illustrations compliment each other and give a bit of extra information’s such as pictures of people and the stores Yeller visits. Hoyt also does an exquisite job catching facial expressions in his work.


Note from Jade:

While I wouldn’t recommend a younger child in Kindergarten or first grade to tackle the reading, it is a great Read Aloud for them. When children start reading, as simple as it is to us it can be stressful to them causing a dislike for reading. This book would make a great read for a second or third grader or a Read Aloud for the younger ones. It may be a bit long for pre-k kids. I really do like this illustrator and I will review some of the books he has illustrated in the future. One of my favorite books Utterly Otterly Day is illustrated by Hoyt. Check it out if you haven’t read it yet! Btw, I do apologize for the wrong picture to match the book review.


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