Michael P. Johnson’s cartoon-ready character LOGDOG is 100% heart, and this illustrated picture book devoted to him seems intended to launch the franchise with a hearty, action-packed creation story.
Billy and Kyle are the grandsons of Grandma and Grandpa Tuttle. Every summer, the boys visit their grandparents on a farm in the country where they explore and play. Their favorite discovery is an old abandoned farm truck with a huge tree growing through its rusted-out trunk bed. The boys turn the pickup into a fort and then, thinking it looks like a “sleeping dog because of the way it appeared to lie on the ground with its four flat tires,” they name it LOGDOG.
When a fire starts on nearby Wolf Mountain, everyone — including an ancient oak tree — is terrified. The oak summons the power of Mother Earth, and much to the boys’ delight, a lightning bolt turns LOGDOG into a huge, fire-stopping, four-wheel superhero. The bizarre creature takes off into the sky to help extinguish the blaze and save the forest.
LOGDOG is everything young boys like: he’s a big-hearted hero with a knack for speed and friendship. While the character of LOGDOG is unique, however, the story presented here is overly complicated and somewhat random. For example, the magical oak so critical to Logdog’s transformation seems to suddenly appear from nowhere and then is never heard from again. In addition, although the photographic CGI-like images of LOGDOG on the back cover and page 3 are compelling, the naÃ¯ve illustrations throughout the rest of the book are child-like and ultimately, detract from the book’s professionalism.
Despite these flaws, young boys may well become fans of this character and be looking forward to LOGDOG’s second adventure.