Argo, a white dog with black ears and tail, brings home a ticket he sees on the sidewalk; while his owners are away on a business trip, he discovers that it's a winner. ``Argo's fortune arrived in seventeen ten-pound sacks,'' writes Smith ( There's a Witch Under the Stairs ), while a droll illustration shows Argo burying the green moneybags (readers can indeed count 17 sacks and, consequently, 17 mounds of dirt in Argo's yard). The next morning, concerned about the unsightly holes, Argo calls for some lawn work (complete with dog-shaped topiary and a fire-hydrant fountain); when the house pales by comparison, Argo has it repainted and even commissions a bone-shaped pool. Savvy readers will want to keep an eye on the refurbishers; the same quartet arrives dressed as Felicia's Lawns & Landscaping, Felicia's Painting & Decorating, etc., and every time these Felicia folk visit, they leave with four hefty bags of loot. Meanwhile, the main spotlight shines on Argo's admirable generosity as he remodels the house and garden in doggy decor. Basic math skills come into play as both Argo's cache and his rations of dog food dwindle, and young decorators will find inspiration in Smith's festive watercolors. Ages 4-up. (May)
K-Gr 3-Argo, an engaging pup, finds an old lottery ticket while making his morning rounds. After his owners leave on a business trip, he takes his find to Mim's store, and discovers that he is the jackpot winner. A fortune arrives later that day in 17 sacks, which he immediately buries in 17 holes throughout the backyard. Realizing the mess he has made, he uses some of his booty to have the yard relandscaped-in doggie fashion. Over the next few days he has the house painted; puts in a bone-shaped swimming pool; and has the house redecorated with paw-print wallpaper, Dalmatian-spotted couches, and a crystal dog-bone chandelier. Argo's owners come home to all of his surprises just as his money runs out. This is a very funny book. The premise alone will tickle readers, but when they see Smith's winning illustrations, they'll giggle out loud. She has done an outstanding job of exploiting the ridiculous, and her superb blend of text and art lets each tell its own story in a most effective fashion. A doggone good read-aloud choice.-Dot Minzer, North Barrington School, Barrington, IL
While his masters are away for the week, independent canine Argo turns in a winning lottery ticket, and in his own imitable style, uses the winnings to exercise his home improvement skillslandscaping, house painting, and interior decorating. In between projects, Argo overeats and then dreams of how he'll spend the rest of his money (he has visions of fire hydrants and silver trays full of slippers). His next enterprise, installing a dog biscuitshaped outdoor swimming pool, makes him hungry. This creates the perfect excuse for inviting a few dog buddies over for a pizza party, topping off his home-alone experience. Smith's humorous watercolors on white backgrounds reveal details that the text leaves outfor example, a dog biscuitshaped chandelier and furniture spotted like a dalmationand complement the matter-of-fact narrative. By the end of the busy week, all messes are cleaned up, and, of course, Argo's proud masters love what he's done to the house. Smith's whimsical story and artwork make a delightfully silly fantasy.