THE WICKED STEPDOG by Carol Lea Benjamin


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An amusing, fast-reading story about weathering the crisis of a father's remarriage, with a feel for the disruptive little things that get to a kid. Louise, who's twelve but seems a little younger (as does the story), has lived comfortably enough with her father since her TV-actress mother left them two years earlier; but now Evelyn is moving in, complete with her clumsy big dog Beany. Worse, Louise must walk the dog--and for law-abiding New Yorkers, that means scooping poop. ""We are a family,"" Dad says when Louise protests. Beany stains Louise's dress with ginger ale at the wedding and generally disrupts the place from then on. Eve takes over the study for her cartooning work, takes Louise's tooth brush slot and shower time, cooks the yukky health foods Dad likes (when she cooks at all), and spends a lot of time laughing with Dad in the bedroom. Before things get better, Louise has suicide fantasies, gets the flu, and at last blurts out her fear that Dad and Evelyn will have a baby and squeeze her out. But it's Beany who makes Louise's dream come true, when her dog-walking coincides with Ryan's, that certain eighth-grader who has never noticed her before but now begins inviting her and Beany to join him and his mutt Shirley on outings. This is all related by Louise in bright kid talk that treats it lightly without belittling.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell