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I'm the Best    by Lucy Cousins order for
I'm the Best
by Lucy Cousins
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

On the first page of this picture book for youngsters two years of age and older, Dog declares, 'I'm Dog, and I'm the best.' He then introduces his friends, Ladybug, Mole, Goose and Donkey, and says, 'I love them. They're great, but I'm the best.'

If you are wondering what Dog is the best at, don't fret; he'll tell you. The brown pooch believes he's the best at digging holes, swimming and running. In fact, Dog tells everyone, 'I'm the best at everything!'

Sadly, Dog's friends feel quite inferior to their friend and they are saddened by this sorry state of affairs. Then Mole realizes that Dog really isn't the best at everything. 'I can dig holes much longer and much deeper than you, Dog. So I win. I'm the best,' Mole says.

Then Dog's other friends realize they also can surpass Dog in various things like swimming fast or flying high in the sky. Oops! Now Dog's cockiness and boasting is replaced by dejection. 'I'm horrible at everything. I'm just a silly show-off,' he says. Then Dog apologizes to everyone for being such a conceited puppy.

Everyone hugs and makes up so the story ends on a happy note. Has Dog learned his lesson? You might think so until you turn to the final page of this amusing picture book. Dog gets the last word and you'll get a chuckle over what he says.

This would be the ideal book to read aloud to a child who has been taunting his or her friends or claiming to be better than they are. There's an important lesson imbedded in this story that youngsters need to learn about how to properly treat siblings or friends.

A wise parent will use Dog's story as a springboard from which to discuss this type of unacceptable behavior. Begin the dialogue by asking, 'How would you feel if you were Dog's friend and he said these things to you?'

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