Reviews for Dex : The Heart of a Hero


Booklist Reviews 2004 April #1
Reviewed with Steve Bjorkman's Supersnouts! PreS-Gr. 1. Lots of kids want to be superheroes, and apparently so do certain animals. Two new books make good use of every child's longing to be the biggest, bravest, strongest. In Supersnouts! young pig Hamlet notices masked men entering the barnyard and alerts two older pigs. They slip into the costumes of the Superhero Pig Patrol and allow Hamlet to get some "on-the-hoof" training as a superhero. He causes almost as much trouble as he solves before triumphantly catching the burglars (though the actual capture is somewhat abbreviated). This rather slight story has a high quantity of hammy jokes along with plenty of bangs and booms. The attraction here is the zippy watercolor artwork, so action-filled that each spread practically quivers with movement. Although the pictures are not cartoon-style, this raucous offering does have elements of that robust medium.Superdog has the same energy, but less slapstick and more heart. Dexter is a small dog, who decides that the way to get respect, especially from ridiculing cat Cleevis, is to become a superhero. He exercises, reads up on other superheroes, and even gets a costume. Almost immediately, he is tackling purse snatchers, rescuing rodents, and in a dramatic denouement, saves Cleevis, who is stuck in a tree. This has a stronger story than Supersnouts, but again it is the artwork that really shines. Solid shapings, surprising perspectives, and thick paints in dynamic colors combine for artwork that practically jumps off the page. There's plenty of wit, too, such as in the set of six small pictures in which Dexter shows off his newly developed muscles. Pure fun (mixed with a little forgiveness). ((Reviewed April 1, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall
When cat Cleevis teases him unmercifully, Dexter, a tiny dachshund, trains to be a superhero. Despite Dex's new rippling muscles and superdog outfit, Cleevis still laughs--until he gets stuck in a tree and must call on Dex for help. Only the hardest heart wouldn't cheer on Dex, and the humorous art capably depicts his determination. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 January #2
The Buehners convincingly suggest that heroes, super or otherwise, are self-made. Looking "like a plump sausage on four little meatballs," Dexter the dachshund is derided by all the other pooches and even the hulking tomcat Cleevis. Determined, however, to turn his dreams of becoming a superhero into reality, he undertakes a relentless program of study and exercise, orders a form-fitting, red-and-green hero suit, and proudly takes on the work of a Hero. That could be helping a puppy cross the street, tackling a purse-snatcher, putting out a trash-can fire, or organizing a neighborhood cleanup day. Flexing stubby but well-muscled arms, Dex cuts a distinctive figure in the illustrations as he grows into his role, striding with new self-confidence through his all-animal urban community, ever ready to help those in need. In the end, he even rescues Cleevis from a tree, picking up a sidekick as a result. Faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive? No--but this low-slung role model shows the inner stuff, both to transform himself, and to rise to the challenges that come his way. (Picture book. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2004 October
Dexter, the dog, is a hero "wanna-be." However, Dexter is rather on the scrawny side and is the victim of much teasing and ridicule, especially from Cleevis, the tomcat. After a little research and much exercising, the muscles finally appear. Finally, he is ready for the finishing touch-a red hero suit with a shiny green cape. At last, Dexter has the self- confidence, the physique, and the uniform to make his dream come true. Now Dexter, "the Superdog" spends his days rescuing lost kittens and saving mice from danger. Dexter's biggest challenge comes on the night that Cleevis is found trapped at the top of a tall tree. The illustrations are hilarious and will keep readers entertained page after page. Though the plot is rather predictable, children will enjoy watching Dexter evolve from a tiny tot to SUPERDOG! Recommended. Julie Stephens, Media Specialist, Calhoun (Georgia) Elementary © 2004 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 March #1
Not a bird, not a plane, but a super-determined dachshund named Dexter steals the show in the Buehners' (Snowmen at Night) picture book. Short of stature, Dex endures rude indifference or energetic taunting from the other pooches in the neighborhood as well as the bullying ringleader, a tomcat named Cleevis. But deep inside, Dex believes he has the heart of a hero, just like the characters in comic books and movies. The humble pup embarks on a rigorous training regimen and mail-orders a hero suit-complete with cape-to go along with his new buff body and attitude. Soon Dex's helpful feats earn him respect, gratitude and happiness-and the opportunity to show Cleevis how it's done. Caralyn Buehner's feel-good tale has a triumphal, never-smug tone that will strike a chord with underdogs everywhere. Mark Buehner infuses his velvety oil paintings with characteristic humor and warmth. He adds a few dashes of comic-book-style text blocks and panel art to underscore the superhero theme. Scenes of Dex flexing his muscles, panting during his sidewalk runs or sporting his green-and-red superdog outfit are laugh-out-loud funny. Elsewhere, shady brownstone stoops and colorful city storefronts and streets add extra flair to this dynamic effort. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 June #3
In PW's words, "A super-determined dachshund named Dexter steals the show" in this story of a little dog who conquers his shortcomings. Ages 4-8. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 February
PreS-Gr 3-Dexter the dachshund is an underdog-literally. Cleevis the tomcat enjoys demonstrating how he can stand right over Dex and not even ruffle his fur. What the pooch lacks in size, however, he makes up for in determination, and when he decides to stop just dreaming of being a hero and devote his life to becoming one, he is unstoppable. The first step on his journey is the library, where the poodle who assists him is wearing glasses and sports what looks suspiciously like a bun. He sets himself a strict exercise regime, pushing himself to the limit: "Even at bedtime, when he wanted to flop on the rug with his tongue hanging out, Dex forced himself to circle five extra times." He finally achieves his goal (his muscle-man poses are priceless), dons a Superdog suit, and proceeds to use his hard-earned prowess for the good of all. When he eventually comes to the rescue of a stranded Cleevis, a new partnership is formed with "twice the brains and triple the brawn." The story line may be a bit predictable, but the Buehners' considerable talents render it fresh and funny. The author has created a lovable and memorable character in the endearing and stalwart Dex, and the illustrator's retro-style artwork is charming. As in Fanny's Dream (Dial, 1996), he has added to the fun by hiding cats, rabbits, and even a Tyrannosaurus rex in the clouds and shadows. This dynamic combination of heart and humor should not be missed.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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