Cover image for Good boy / by Sergio Ruzzier.
Good boy / by Sergio Ruzzier.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2019]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Illustrations and simple text follow a boy and a dog on an out-of-this-world adventure.
Audience/Reading Level:
Interest age level: 4-8.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
RUZ Book Easy Collection

On Order



A boy and a dog embark on an out-of-this-world adventure in this whimsical picture book from award-winning author-illustrator Sergio Ruzzier.

This is the story of a boy and his dog.

Or is it a dog and his boy?

Either way, it's a playful story of friendship and adventure!

Author Notes

Sergio Ruzzier is the author and illustrator of many children's books, including Good Boy , This Is Not a Picture Book! , Bear and Bee , and Two Mice . He is the illustrator of Florence Parry Heide's chapter books Tales for the Perfect Child and Fables You Shouldn't Pay Any Attention To , and has created comic strips for Italian magazines Linus and Lupo Alberto Magazine . He has also done work for many national and international magazines and book publishers. His work has been awarded by American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, The Society of Publication Designers, and Parents' Choice, and in 2011 he was awarded the Sendak Fellowship. Born in Italy, he lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Sergio at

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

This gem of a story by Ruzzier (Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories) stars a boy in a green T-shirt that doesn't quite meet his shorts. He has an exceedingly well-trained dog, and the comedy comes from the boy's increasingly improbable commands. "Sit," the boy says to the dog. "Stay. Roll over." Pretty soon, they're off to harder things: "Juggle," the boy directs, and the hound obligingly lofts a ball of yarn, a bone, a liquid-filled drinking glass, and more. The dog cooks a meal and serves it, repairs a boat and sails the boy to an island, then the two blast into outer space ("Go," says the boy from inside the rocket they've built). The unflappable child never seems surprised by his canine's superb competence, and he's willing to help out where necessary. When the duo opens the door to venture outside, ink-and-watercolor spot illustrations open out into views of land and sea bathed in warm, golden light. The sparse text, the tidiness with which Ruzzier works out his concept, and the endearing qualities of his two heroes make the book a small classic. Ages 4-8. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

On the cover, a ginger-haired boy and a lop-eared, ginger-furred dog greet each other, but it doesnt look like a paw shake between owner and pet. Instead, it looks like two established and slightly formal friends shaking hands. The simple image tips us the wink that this boy/dog relationship is not straightforward. The text, in the imperative mood, begins with the familiar commands of puppy school: Sit; Stay; Roll over. Gradually, these commands become more elaborate and unlikelyCook; Serveuntil, as the white backgrounds explode with gorgeous color, the dog repairs a rowboat (Fix), constructs a spaceship (Build), and accompanies the boy on a trip to the moon (Go). Gently and sweetly, the dog morphs from pet to pal to parent figure as, finally safe at home, the obedient canine tucks the boy into bed and reads him a story. Theres no alpha male here, just two genial, respectful, loving creatures. An original premise, a bare-bones text of thirty-two words, perfect picture-book pacing, and deliciously transparent watercolors combine for an emotional punch. By the time we read Stay for a second time at storys end, we recognize that its not a command but a quiet and poignant request. sarah ellis January/February 2019 p 83(c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Review of Books Review

A boy and his dog head to the moon, a crab bakes cakes, a cat foils a bakery break-in: These books send imaginations soaring. ONE IS A PIÑATA Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong. Illustrated by John Parra. Thong and Parra have explored shapes ("Round Is a Tortilla") and colors ("Green Is a Chile Pepper") with adorable bilingual flair, and this take on the numbers one to 10 is just as appealing. Each object is named in Spanish, with surrounding text in English ("six flavored aguas to quench our thirst"), while Parra's folk-art illustrations give visual clues to scenes from Latino life. Each friendly page beckons - to find stuff to count, or just to imagine lying on the beach under one of the five palapas. 32 pp. Chronicle. $16.99. (Ages 3 to 5) THERE ARE NO BEARS IN THIS BAKERY Written and illustrated by Julia SarconeRoach. A protective tabby named Muffin, a shop called Little Bear Bakery, a nighttime intruder. Is it a giant mouse? Or... a baby bear, helping herself to the goodies? Muffin is on the case. Sarcone-Roach ("The Bear Ate Your Sandwich") draws her audience in with I'm-the-boss cat humor and expressive mixed-media art in shades of blue and orange, perfectly capturing moods ranging from a terrified kitty ("I was smooshed, like a muffin between the couch cushions") to a satisfying bear hug. This delightful caper calls out for multiple readings. 32 pp. Knopf. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) TEN RULES OF THE BIRTHDAY WISH Written by Beth Ferry. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Admit it, that annual wish you make before blowing out the candles is a huge deal. This antic step-by-step guide at first plays it for laughs, pulling in dinosaurs, rhinos, penguins and many more creatures to sow amusing chaos. Dogs howl the birthday song off-key, and puffer fish are warned not to take a big breath. But the always vibrant Lichtenheld and Ferry turn sweetly serious for the moment we've been waiting for, with a gentle reminder: "Don't forget that wish ends in 'shhhhhh.' " 40 pp. Putnam. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) GOOD BOY Written and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. This latest from Ruzzier (the Fox & Chick books) has just one or two words per page. But with lovely art that turns effortlessly surreal, that's all it takes to tell a clever, comical story of a truly mutual relationship. A boy and his dog, whose coat is the same shade of yellow as the boy's hair, practice canine training commands like "Sit" and "Jump" that soon morph into wondrous feats like "Cook." Before you know it, the devoted pair are off on an outer-space adventure. 40 pp. Atheneum. $15.99. (Ages 4 to 8) WHAT IS GIVEN FROM THE HEART Written by Patricia C. McKissack. Illustrated by April Harrison. In this exquisite story of generosity from the beloved McKissack, who died in 2017, a little boy named James Otis and his mama have fallen on hard times after his father's death. But they keep their spirits up, focusing on a request by their minister to add to a "love box" for a family that lost everything in a fire. Harrison has created soft yet dazzling illustrations for this tribute to faith, hope and the African-American community 32 pp. Schwartz & Wade. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) THE NEIGHBORS Written and illustrated by Einat Tsarfati. Translated by Annette Appel. All apartment buildings contain tantalizing mysteries, and the red-haired girl who narrates this zany treat tells what's behind each door in hers: a tiger, a vampire, a family that "celebrates someone's birthday at least once a week." Tsarfati ("An After Bedtime Story") balances visual extravagance with sneaky insight into how kids think of home. 40 pp. Abrams. $16.99. (Ages 4 to 8) CRAB CAKE Written and illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi. The sea creatures who populate Tsurumi's underwater idyll live harmoniously, yet each does its own thing, including Crab, who bakes cakes. But when someone dumps trash into their home, the psychedelic colors darken. What to do? The eco-friendly lesson goes down easy as "everybody comes together," pitching in to haul the trash away, with another cake from Crab waiting at the end. 40 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) CICADA Written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. Like all Tan's genre-defying books, this one vibrates with profound questions about how we choose to live and how we treat one another. A gray-suited cicada is an office drone, insulted and underpaid by the humans; he lives in an office wall space. After 17 years, he's shown the door. Despondent, he seems about to jump from the roof, but instead sheds the suit and becomes dozens of bright red insects, flying away to freedom. 32 pp. Arthur A. Levine. $19.99. (Ages 12 and up) MARIA RUSSO is the children's books editor of the Book Review.