Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School

Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School

Mark Teague
Picture Book  Series
For ages 5 to 7
Scholastic, 2002   ISBN: 978-0439569590

Ike has stolen one too many dinners, he has chased one too many cats, and he has howled one too many times. As far as his owner Mrs. LaRue is concerned, Ike is due a visit to the Brotweiler Canine Academy where she hopes he will learn some manners. Of course Ike is simply mortified to be sent to such a dreadful place, and he makes his feelings known in a series of letters that he writes to his owner from the "PRISON" she has sent him to.

Ike writes at length about the fact that his misdemeanors were not as bad as all that. He also does his best to give his owner the impression that the Academy is a dreadful place full of guards and wardens, striped outfits, and cold cells

Of course, all the reader needs to do is to look at the pictures in this book to see that Ike is in a very comfortable, some may even call it a lavish, establishment. Readers will find Ike's tendency to exaggerate - perhaps to bend the truth just a little - and his determination to make a "daring escape" both funny, and at times, touching. Adults will also be amused by Ike's flair for melodrama, and by the juxtaposition that exists between reality and what Ike imagines.

On each set of pages the author shows the reader what Ike is actually doing in warm bright colors. At the same time, in tones of black, grey and white, he shows readers the world that Ike has created in his imagination, the one which he describes in the letters that he writes to Mrs. LaRue.

With a perfectly satisfying ending, this book is yet another Mark Teague success.