Criminal activity at the local dog pound and a dream about the queen of England figure into this funny, charming tale about a 7-year-old boy and his flying dachshund.
Young Tom’s pet “sausage dog,” Max, a rescue from the local pound, has an unusual, secret gift. When he whirls his tail, he can fly, and whenever Tom arrives home from school, Max greets him by zooming like a helicopter into his arms. But in this follow-up to Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Tail from London (2014), a dog-pound manager and an odd-looking policeman confiscate Max, claiming that his original owner has been found. That night, Tom dreams that he asks the queen of England—a fellow dog lover—for help, and she threatens to jail the pound manager in the Tower of London if he doesn’t release Max. The authors aim a sly bit of humor at adults when Tom tells the queen that his mum always says “patience is a virtue,” and the queen responds, “That’s what I’ve been telling my son, Charles, for years.” Indeed, a peppery wit informs this gentle story throughout. The strange policeman, for instance, is “tall and thin with an Adam’s apple that stood out like a pickled onion,” and Robins’ offbeat illustrations are a spot-on match to the descriptions, with comic details to engage the eye. Tom and his mother team up to rescue Max and confront the bad guys—“Mum can be pretty frightening when she gets a certain voice on,” Tom says—and chaos ensues as whirligig Max leads the chase to rescue other pooches, too. The book includes a helpful list of words and phrases used in the story that are common in England: dachshund is pronounced “dash-hound”; “Telly” is short for “television”; “Lovely jubbly” is “money”; and in cockney rhyming slang, “my boots,” becomes “Me daisy roots.” The book ends with an endearing coda: a photo of the real-life inspiration for the Max character (“Could he fly? / That will remain a secret forever”).
A thoroughly enjoyable book for young readers featuring deft storytelling, humor, and heart.