Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family
by Linda Harkey
Archway Publishing

"I can eat all the pack's grub before they get in. But first, I'll get my special snack."

The adventures of Willie the Crow and the Lazy Dog Hacienda continue in this collection of short tales between the loyal but stubborn pack run by Doc and the selfish but well-meaning schemes of the near-sighted Willie the Crow. Willie's current obsession is getting in through the dog door, so he can snack on the dog food without being detected. But his plans are constantly foiled by the chaotic and energetic dogs of the pack. Determined to make peace, Willie offers Doc some shiny wrappers as a truce. However, this leads to the dogs finding out about the treats Willie earns from their master by pecking on the fridge. The secret exchange is given away when a local news crew comes out to film Willie's trick and make him a bit of a local celebrity.

Combining multiple short stories into another volume with these popular children's characters, the author captures the kind of storytelling found within many beloved cartoons. By keeping the settings and the cast of characters restrained, children quickly familiarize themselves with the subjects of these tales and feel like they've known them all along. That familiarity breeds compassion and excitement, and young readers will want to quickly devour story after story about the Lazy Dog Hacienda. The illustrations are filled with personality and charm, and the characters provide a perfect balance of mischief and good nature. New readers will no doubt want to check out the other adventures of these delightful animals, and returning fans will find more of what they love in this pleasant read.

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