Ick is a small dog. Crud is a big dog. Together they have adventures. In this story, Ick is feeling "bleh." and Crud takes him to get ice cream to cheer him up. Along the way they have three adventures; a muddy adventure, a soggy adventure, and finally an ice cream adventure! Will Ick feel more like himself? Or will he still feel bleh?
The art is bright and cartoonish. Paillot uses the eyes of the characters to great effect, although Miss Puffy (the cat) has a more static face. Bob, their owner, is only pictured in the character sketches and is black (presumably he shows up more in later adventures). The children and other humans in the background show a range of diverse genders and skin colors.
This is a beginning chapter book divided into 3 chapters. I was working from an ARC, but assuming the final format is similar it's a slightly oversize easy reader size - about 8x6. They are available in both paperback and library binding. The text is large and bold and the titles have around 1,000-1,500 words and 32 pages.
They're more wordy than some other beginning chapters like the lower level Branches, but they have a good mix of art and words which should attract readers and their vocabulary is not too advanced. My only caveat is that some of my more sensitive parents won't like the one dog being named "Crud." However, that's always something you have to take into account when recommending titles, the individual needs and wants of families.
Verdict: If you have lots of fans of the Branches series and a need for more beginning chapters that are funny and cartoonish, this looks like a great series to invest in. I'm definitely interested in adding some to my collection and getting the kids' reactions at book club.
ISBN: 9781634401852; Published 2017 by Red Chair Press/Lerner; ARC provided at ALA 2017