Saturday, January 08, 2022

The Puppy Problem (The Daily Bark #1)

James, Laura and Alder, Charlie. The Puppy Problem (The Daily Bark #1)
January 11th 2022 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
ARC provided by the publisher

Gizmo is very happy with his life with Granny, but when she moves from the fascinating city to the country town of Puddle, he is a bit asea. He tries to make some friends, and comes across a neighbor dog, Jilly, who is a gigantic Irish Wolfhound who has four very young puppies. Jilly is worried that her human will sell the puppies to families far away, and she will never get to see them. She enlists Gizmo's help to find local families for them. Along the way, Gizmo makes other new friends, including Lola, who loves to run, Bunty, who lives at Willow Tree Farm, Bob, the station dog, and Bruno, whose owner has a salon. Gizmo borrows Granny's typewriter and makes a flyer about the puppies, then gives copies to other dogs in town to spread the word. Luckily, there is enough local interest in Jilly's pups that they are all adopted close to home. Gizmo also finds out that Jilly is not able to read, and teaches her this new skill. 
Strengths: The illustrations in this were absolutely adorable, and I can't be the only one who has a soft spot for early reader books about dogs! Gizmo is a fascinating character, and he has his own life apart from Granny, who actually isn't present in the book much at all. He and his friends identify the problem, think of solutions, and try to use their skills to implement their best idea. This is a nicely sized, small book, with color illustrations in the finished edition-- mainly purple, aqua, and brown with pops of red. It's a feel good story, both with Jilly's concerns for her puppies and with her learning to read. I'll be interested to see the next book in the series. 
Weaknesses: I found it a little odd that the humans were not involved in having Jilly's puppies adopted; after getting Pongo from Ohio Fuzzy Pawz, I think it's a great idea for people to have to fill out five page applications and families to be thoroughly investigated before having a dog placed with them. The target demographic of six year olds will NOT be thinking about this. 
What I really think: Clearly, I enjoy this beginning chapter books about animals a little too much. Ahn's Pug Pals, Peter's Jasmine Green series, Higgins's Home is Where the Heart Is (Good Dog #1), Clarke's Posy the Puppy (Dr. Kitty Cat #1) , Butler's King and Kayla, are all ones that I adored, and the bit longer (and my favorite) Falatko's Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School has only a slightly harder reading level.
Ms. Yingling

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