Sun Dog Reviews

School Library Journal

SunDog_Website

“Del Rizzo’s polymer clay and acrylic wash artwork is colorful, textured, and three-dimensional….VERDICT The captivating text and illustrations invite repeated reading. An inspiring tale of determination, courage, and devotion.”
—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ont.

Read the full review in the September 2018 online issue of School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“At the top of the world in the Arctic Circle, a young sled dog, Juno, seeks adventure….Kerbel weaves facts about the Arctic Circle within a tender story of the devotion between a boy and his dog. Del Rizzo’s vibrant, colorful polymer clay and acrylics capture the beauty of their home. The modeled clay gives Juno, the boy, and environs a sculptural, tactile quality. The boy has beige skin and black hair, there is an inuksuk in one picture, and their town is a tidy one of wood-frame houses. Juno may be a puppy in the Arctic Circle, but children everywhere will relate to her.”

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Resource Links

“Rating: E…

The story is very exciting and full of local colour. The amazing illustrations are done with polymer clay and acrylic paint. They are beautifully rendered in wonderful colours and textures. They reflect the puppy nature and local scenery with great affection.

This book could possibly be an award winner!”

Thematic Links: Sled Dogs; Arctic Circle; Tundra; Courage
—Isobel Lang

Read the full review on page 4 of the June 2018 issue of Resource Links

CM Magazine

“Kerbel’s poetic detail places the reader in a calm town on top of the world at a time before anyone else is awake and where the wind is lighter than a whisper….Del Rizzo’s textured illustrations in polymer clay pair incredibly well with the acrylic wash of the sky, creating a dreamy image of the midnight sun. Each illustration adds a new dimension to the story, encouraging readers to find hidden meaning in the illustration’s detail….This interesting and unique story could lead to scientific conversations with younger children about life in the Arctic, diverse tundra animals, and the sun cycles in a fun and engaging way, as well as the take-home message of displaying true bravery. In addition to the text, which depicts the romantic landscapes of the tundra and the magical feeling of being on top of the world, Kerbel also includes information on the endpapers about the majestic midnight sun and the atmospheric optical phenomenon called sun dog, both being her inspiration for Sun DogHighly Recommended.
—Mallory Dawson is the Teen Advocate Librarian at Vaughan Public Libraries

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Midwest Book Review

“Suzanne Del Rizzo’s dimensional art in polymer clay and acrylic wash offers both an intimate romp with a young puppy and a sweeping celebration of the vast and beautiful tundra, making Sun Dog an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 7.”

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CanLit for Little Canadians

Children will love the story of Juno as Sun Dog, not least of which because she is an adorable dog, thanks to Suzanne Del Rizzo’s elaborate and emotive dimensional art. But I think that Deborah Kerbel’s message that ‘Juno might be little, but there’s a big dog inside her’ is a meaningful one for young children who often feel too little to do anything significant and wish to be big so they can stay up late or go somewhere alone or just not be hindered by their youth or size…

The joy of being outside and the beauty of the Arctic landscape are beautifully conveyed through Suzanne Del Rizzo’s artwork. I’ve oohed and aahed over her polymer clay and acrylic paint art that graced her own My Beautiful Birds and other picture books and Sun Dog is no exception. Those summer skies of yellow, pink, purple, and blue, with many shades in between, took me to that land of the midnight sun and the home of children who rarely saw themselves in books. Within that landscape, Suzanne Del Rizzo brought playfulness and charm, with the reality necessary to tell Deborah Kerbel’s sweet story.

It’s lovely for me to review books by creators like Deborah Kerbel and Suzanne Del Rizzo whose work I’ve seen transform and evolve with each imaginative work. Now, with their collaboration, a charming story has been synthesized from message and art into the brilliant and heart-warming combination that is Sun Dog.”

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Youth Services Book Review

What did you like about the book?…The story is a nice introduction to the arctic. The eye-catching illustrations are rendered in polymer clay and acrylic, bringing the arctic to vivid life.

To whom would you recommend this book? This is a story that will appeal to children interested in the arctic and those who like sled dogs. Pair it with Over in the Arctic by Marianne Berkes and Kumak’s Fish by Michael Bania for a fun arctic themed story time.”
Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

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Canadian Bookworm

“This is a lovely story of the connection between Juno and her boy, but also of the high Arctic days, and the animals who call that part of the world their home.

The illustrator of this book uses polymer clay as one element of the illustrations and I loved the effect. She brings alive Juno’s playfulness (I particularly liked the picture with the sock) and the beautiful environment Juno and her boy live in. The flowers look so real, I wanted to smell them!

A great book, especially for youngsters with their own special dog.”

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Fab Book Reviews

“Kerbel’s writing is so fluid and measured; while so much activity happens over the course of the picture book, Kerbel’s writing is focused, utterly inviting, and perfectly action-packed (yet not frightening for younger readers) when the climactic action occurs. Del Rizzo’s clay and acrylic art is so meticulously detailed and dynamic (from larger scenery to the smallest particulars)- I am in awe. There is one spread in particular in Sun Dog featuring the story’s polar bear that is incredible- quite a work of art….The combination of Kerbel’s storytelling and Del Rizzo’s art make for terrific reading, and I hope we get to see further collaborations from the duo.

Overall, what a gorgeous picture book! With a terrific combination of warmth, playfulness and love, and moments of excitement and danger that lead to a sunny ending, Sun Dog is sure to please readers and/or an audience of young and old.  With such appealing and vibrant art, and a beautifully written, well-paced story, Sun Dog would make for great read aloud material (for preschool ages and up), as well as for quiet reading and sharing.”

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Storytime with Stephanie

Sun Dog by Deborah Kerbel and Suzanne Del Rizzo is a beautifully illustrated, impeccably written tale about a little sled dog pup who dreams of running with the big dogs….

Sun Dog is a lovely little story that will speak to all little children, who are just desperate to be bigger and older. One of the most common things I hear in my day job as a preschool teacher and mom is “I wish I was a grownup!” Juno is every child who is clamouring to have more responsibility and autonomy. Plus, she is just so darn cute!…Children will love and be inspired by the plasticine illustrations by Suzanne Del Rizzo. All of the illustrations are so vibrant and full of incredible details and mixes of colours to capture the beautiful sky in the far north.”

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Book Time

“The story is a cute one and you can’t help but love Juno, who is as curious and adventurous as her boy. It’s nice to read stories about life in the north.”

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Kids’ Book Buzz

“I thought this book was cute. I liked the ending. All the illustrations were made with clay and paint. I thought that was neat. The art was my favorite part. The book is not that scary for little kids. People who like animals will like this book. It would be interesting to live in a place where the sun never sets.

Reviewed By: Nishaant – Age 10”

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