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From the Shelter to the White House

by Jill Twiss ; illustrated by Maribel Lechuga

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-06-311876-8
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

A presidential dog tells all.

Alternating between cutesy-poo preciousness—“I am a dog, but you could probably tell that already. You seem pretty on the ball, for a person”—and doggy high spirits, the Biden pooch tells his story. In Major’s telling, meeting Joe in an animal shelter (“a place where dogs like me can rescue the families that need us”) led directly to the White House. “Coincidence? Well, I don’t think so.” Shrugging off the multiple biting incidents (“Sometimes I get too excited”), he lays out days of walks, playful mischief, and gathering around the toilet for “afternoon tea,” to which Twiss adds an afterword on presidential pets of the past and a list of shelter adoption resources. The vice president and other people of color join both the Bidens and a multibreed cast of shelter dogs in Lechuga’s buttoned-up cartoon illustrations—as, repeatedly, does Major’s canine counterpart Champ, whose death in June 2021 goes unremarked before the author’s note. Young readers may need a parental gloss. Otherwise, the illustrations follow in the familiar unreliable-pet-narrator tradition of so many first-person-animal picture books, depicting Major and Champ wreaking havoc as they “help in the garden” and cowering under a table while a staffer vacuums even as Major boasts of “defend[ing] the house from our most ferocious enemy.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Canine chronicles of the current administration abound; this one too is outdated, if a bit more waggish than most.

(Picture book. 6-8)