Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty

Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty

Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach (InfoSoup)

Everyone in Ed’s family is excellent except for Ed. He doesn’t understand why he isn’t allowed to eat at the table, ride in the van, sit on the couch or use the inside bathroom like the rest of the family. So he decides that he’s just not good enough and sets out to find something that he is the best in. But each time he finds something, one of the others in the family shows how much better they are than he is at exactly that thing. Finally, Ed shows why he is the perfect pet in a perfect family, though he still wonders about the inside bathroom.

This book uses humor and a dog’s perspective to take a look at being the underachiever in a family. The family is oblivious to Ed’s self-esteem crisis, continuing to excel and to applaud one another along the way. The book is cleverly crafted with Ed figuring out what he is good at and then another family member putting a twist on it and showing a new interpretation of the skill. Additionally, the list of things that Ed isn’t allowed to do serves as the basis for what he is actually very good at. It’s a lovely concept that brings the entire book full circle.

The illustrations are jaunty and delightful. In a book about a dog and not about race at all, it is great to see a family of color as the central figures. There is a lot of energy throughout the book and it is made all the more energetic by the illustrations which pack plenty of action on each page, moving the book along at a lively pace.

Dynamic, funny and very satisfying, this picture book is dog-gone good. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Penguin Random House and Edelweiss.