The beloved family of Julian and Huey Bates (The Stories Julian Tells, 1981, etc.) is back after a long hiatus. Spunky, their mixed-breed dog, hilariously reveals all about his humans and realizes his purpose in life.
No matter how hard Spunky concentrates and how earnestly he explains himself, his family is unable to hear him. This leads to one unintended consequence: The family adopts a cat, Fiona, thinking that Spunky needs a friend to play with. Fiona does just what she wishes, while Spunky is true to his nature and just wants to please his family and follow the schedule—except when he is chewing socks and breaking pencils. Through first-canine narrative, readers get right into Spunky's mind, sharing his frustrations at Fiona’s lack of reflection and his humans’ inability to figure things out. Amusing descriptions of the house—Boy Sleeping Room, White Pond Room (bathroom), Family Lie-Around Room—keep young readers laughing, and lots of action (the best of it in the White Pond Room) keeps the pages turning. Spunky’s love of his boy, Huey, will bring a tear to the eyes of dog lovers, too. Castillo’s perfect black-and-white spot drawings capture the energy and intelligence of both animals as they begin the careful dance of new friendship.
Readers ready for chapter books will delight in seeing the world through Spunky’s eyes and powerful nose. (Fiction. 8-11)