A boisterous golden retriever puppy narrates her attempts to make friends at the dog park in this earnest but uninspired story that fails to capture the bouncy charm of a real puppy.
Abramson, the executive editor of the New York Times, previously relayed the story of rearing her puppy in a book for adults, The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout (2011). For this effort, Abramson collaborates with her sister, the author of the popular Fancy Nancy series. Despite their extensive publishing experience, the authors present an unexceptional story with a stilted text that reads like a stale beginning reader from the 1950s. Scout narrates in a coy, overly cheery tone with an abundance of exclamation marks and repeated refrains of “Ooh ooh!” and “Ready or not, here I come!” After learning to play nicely and to share her toy, Scout proclaims, “Wow! See how popular I am now!” Appealing illustrations of the cast of cavorting canines add interest but fail to rescue the lackluster text.
Kids don’t want a lesson in playground etiquette delivered in didactic fashion from a puppy, even a cute one. Ready or not? Not. (Picture book. 3-6)