Rating - 2: not worth reading (skip it)
Reviewing an early reader book puts me outside my field. I will try anyway.
Buster is a bad kid. His parents take him to play with dogs at the pound to keep him out of trouble. He becomes a somewhat less bad kid and does something good.
This could be a good story for a reluctant reader. A boy around age 7 with behavioral problems seems like a good target, someone who could sympathize with the protagonist. Other than that, it is a simple, unimaginative book.
Plus: this is not a story where the bad kid has a heart of gold underneath and everyone comes to love him. Score one for coherent psychology and group dynamics in a children's book. Minus: bad people have tattoos. That seems like a bad thing to teach kids, both in terms of over- and under-inclusiveness.
Leigh Hobbs's illustrations are simple but effective in an intentionally messy style. The dogs look good. The tree stump sculptures do not (which may be intentional).