The Mudhogs by Dalton James



The Mudhogs by Dalton JamesReview by Molly

Dalton James’ The Mudhogs is a fun read both written and illustrated by Dalton James.

My resident reviewers, Osage County First Grade settled themselves as always to listen carefully and then voice their opinion of the work.   They were doubly fascinated to be reviewing a book presented by a child author little older than they.  Eight year old Dalton James presents his book The Mudhogs.

On the first page Little Reader’s were intrigued with the first illustration featuring a barn.  We live in a rural area where barns, and paddock or barnyard fences are common, hay up on the hay loft is readily recognized and an open door with hay showing on the floor is something even Little Ranchers are familiar with.

Writer James’ tale begins with Fangs, the tick who lives on Piggy’s leg.  Fangs is our spokes critter.  Introducing Piggy we find this porker to be short and fat, is the leader of the group and is smart.  Little Listeners leaned in to check out the graphic and within moments announced they could see Fangs, and so they did.  There he was right on Piggy’s leg.

The narrative continues as Fangs introduces Piggles, and then Piglet.

Now, the Mudhogs like to meet at the Barnyard Break to take breaks and roll in the mud.  However, it has not rained for months and there is no mud.  The image of cracked soil there in the barnyard is something Little Reader’s recognize too, sad to say.

The Mudhogs decide to do something to make it rain.  And the story continues as writer James and his little Mudhogs give it there best try, no rain.  Next they set out to search for mud, and after traveling for several weeks and finding  no mud they set out for home.  Do they ever find mud?

Osage County First Grade pronounced the illustrations to be ones they ‘really, really good.’  They especially liked that the artwork so resembled children’s work.  I like it too.  Writer illustrator James’ one page spreads are filled with line drawings which appeared to be colored using colored pencils. Osage County First Grade enjoys using colored pencils now and then, and readily recognized that these fun drawings may well be exactly that.  James’ simple artwork is perfect for this narrative.

Each of the Mudhogs is an individual having their own body image as well as attributes setting them apart from the others in the group.  The fun attempts to create rain brought smiles and giggles as did their search for mud.

James’ whimsical sense of humor is evident especially during the mud search, town and country names brought more smiles and giggles.  I especially liked Piggsburg where the town sign states “No ham allowed”.  Osage County First Grade easily recognized the outline map of Pighoma, before eyeballing our map on the wall to check out the shape of three more states including New Hog.

Little Reader Listeners enjoy taking The Mudhogs as one of their DEAR choices during DEAR reading, and Mudhogs is frequently chosen as an overnight take home for reading at home.

Twenty two thumbs up from Osage County First Grade.

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