Barnaby is a rescue dog who is adopted and trained as a bedbug-searching detection dog in this informative story on a current, widespread woe.
At the animal shelter, the appealing terrier is passed over for adoption by several families due to his rambunctious personality, but a pleasant woman named Martha selects Barnaby as her companion and potential detection dog. She sends Barnaby to a professional school for bedbug dog detectives, where he is trained, along with Martha as his handler, in how to sniff out the unwelcome pests. After graduation, they take on freelance jobs searching for bedbugs in a movie theater, a hotel and other locations. In their next job, they assist a family with three children in their home, where Barnaby finds bedbugs in the daughter’s bedroom. Information about bedbugs and how they are located and removed is skillfully woven into the text, which is narrated by Barnaby. Additional facts about bedbugs are included in the endpapers and backmatter, though a depiction of the actual size of bedbugs is lacking. Cheery illustrations painted in acrylics help to create believable, engaging characters and a positive atmosphere.
Overall, a reassuring introduction to a potentially scary subject, and just the thing for a family that needs “something on bedbugs.” (afterword, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-8)