Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Truffle: A Dog (and Cat) Story

Happy belated book birthday to this delightful picture book! Interestingly enough, it arrived while I was in Cincinnati, watching my daughter's house while she is on her honeymoon and learning to live with her cat Bella! I've never been a cat person, but Bella is a VERY friendly cat who soon decided to drape herself all over me, licking my face and kneading my shoulders! My mother always told me that cats were evil, and I internatlized that. At first, I thought that Bella was tasting me, in preparation for murdering me in my sleep, but this did not seem to be the case.  

Tolerance is certainly one of the lessons of this book, and while I did learn to enjoy Bella's presence, I was glad to be home with my dog Pongo. As a shih tzu poodle mix, he does not shed. Bella, on the other hand, seemed to travel in a cloud of white cat fur, which was an impossible challenge to clean up, even though I brushed Bella thrice a day!

McPhail, David. Truffle: A Dog (and Cat) Story
June 5, 2023 by Peter E. Randall
Copy provided by the publisher

Truffle is a hardworking dog who is employed on a farm, where he makes sure that the rats stay out of the barn, and the badgers who dig holes in the field help to get trucks out of them when they get stuck! He also has an adversarial relationship with the barn cat, whom he believes to be very lazy. Upon his retirement, Truffle takes his inheritance and moves to a village, where the first thing he does, ala Babar, is to buy a posh green suit. He still does not care for cats, especially when he can't help but chase them, and this does damage to his beautiful suit. Cats seem to be everywhere; the tearoom, where they rub up against his legs while he's trying to enjoy a cuppa, the library, and even his barbershop! Eventually, Truffle decides that what is missing in his life is travel, so he books a trip to the seaside. It's glorious, but when he is gazing out onto the water, a cat working on the dock falls into the water. Quick thinking Truffle jumps in and saves him! Tom and Truffle spend some time together and become friends. Upon returning home, Truffle gets to know some of the cats in his neighborhood, and eventually invites Tom to visit him in the village. The two have a delightful time together, and Tom decides to stay, which alleviates Truffle's loneliness. 

McPhail's illustrations have changed over his long career, but Truffle seems to hark back to his 1980s illustrations, and are a bit reminiscent of Tasha Tudor or Garth Williams, two of my favorite illustrators. There's a misty richness to the scenes, and a very cozy sense of place. 

I normally read dog books, like McMullan's As Warm as the Sun, but can get behind titles that promote harmony between species, like Willem's Diva and FleaTruffle: A Dog (and Cat) Story definitely feels like a classic book, and I feel like it was speaking directly to me. Now, I just need a nice green suit. Which would, of course, show the cat hair no matter what color the cat was!
 Ms. Yingling

As you can see, Bella and Pongo have very different feelings about the concept of "personal space"!



  1. Anonymous2:49 PM EDT

    Oh, I’ll have to request this one from the library!

  2. Cats have a very simple idea of personal space--the whole world is their personal space and the sooner we humans learn that, the happier we--and they--will be.