Junior is a dog of great enthusiasm.
Recently adopted from the animal shelter by Mom-Lady, he’s the happy owner of a pet human boy he calls Ruff. Ruff is a good human. He lets Junior sleep on his bed, takes him for walks to the dog park (neighborhood map included), and seems unperturbed by Junior’s ever-so-doggy ways. Unfortunately, Junior accidentally gets away at the dog park and causes all sorts of amusing pandemonium, very annoying to nasty professional dog trainer Iona Stricker. She presents Ruff with an ultimatum: either train his unruly dog (in her class), or she will have Junior returned to the shelter. Junior—once he learns what’s needed—is happy to comply, until his enthusiasm gets the better of him once again. Related in Junior’s endearingly canine first-dog voice, the tale is a quick one, accompanied by Watson’s numerous cartoon illustrations that perfectly capture Junior’s whimsical attitude. A healthy serving of mild bathroom humor should appeal to the intended audience. After all, who doesn’t like to hear of a dog using Ruff’s sister’s shoes for a latrine? The few human characters all appear to be the white default. The broad humor and fast pace will likely entice many a reader turned off by longer, more deliberative tales. Activities and a “Doglish” glossary are included.
This series opener is a romp in the park. (Fiction. 7-11)