A young boy finds out how much work goes into teaching a puppy to stay out of trouble in this debut children’s book.
Trent wants a puppy; his parents make him wait until he is 5, old enough to handle the responsibility of raising a pet “because doggies are a lot of work.” Trent instantly falls in love with an enthusiastic brown and tan dog, which he names Jessie. Trent gives Jessie a pillow for his bed, and even though it’s comfortable, the canine soon grows bored and begins chewing it. It’s the first mess: illustrator McIntosh shows a redheaded, blue-eyed Trent looking at a huge pile of feathers in dismay. “Jessie! You’re sooo messy!” he exclaims. In the endnotes, Normandin, an early childhood educator, points out that this refrain, printed in red instead of brown like the rest of the text, is designed for young readers to chime in—and they surely will. To clean up the mess, Trent shuts Jessie in his parents’ room, where the pup finds a tube of lipstick within reach. Cue the refrain, and an even more frustrated-looking Trent appears on the page. Jessie heads to the kitchen while Trent cleans up, and the animal finds joy. He spies a huge bag of dog food. Preschoolers and other lap readers should see the pattern by this point and giggle as Trent discovers another fiasco—and tries putting the pup in another room. But even the basement turns into a disaster area as untrained Jessie empties his bladder on the floor. When Trent steps in the puddle, young audiences will likely voice the appropriate “Ew!” in response before citing the refrain. Outside, Jessie finds a mud puddle; in the bathtub, he delights in knocking over the shampoo. Like Trent, children are sure to learn in this engaging story that a dog really is a serious responsibility. And while they might empathize with Trent, they’re more likely to laugh at the boy’s misfortunes throughout, especially as his expressions in McIntosh’s colorful cartoonish images become more frantic. This is definitely a humorous way to show the reality of how tough it can be to train a new puppy.
This amusing read-aloud tale for a preschool classroom about a mischievous canine should elicit plenty of giggles.