A superficial tail wagger, but it’s good to see the White House going to the dogs literally again rather than otherwise.

CHAMP AND MAJOR

FIRST DOGS

Two German shepherds take on the very important job of keeping their newly elected “dad” from working too hard.

As the Bidens’ dog since vice-presidential days, Champ knows his duties well and readily assumes new ones when Major arrives—first teaching the rambunctious shelter pup how to behave at home and in public and then, after the election, taking him on a tour of the White House. The low-saturation, generic, sparsely detailed cartoon illustrations look as whipped out as the blandly minimal narrative, which is so simple caregivers may need to fill in quite a lot for little listeners—like what is the job Champ and Major’s dad does that’s so tiring. Only one scene, of Biden addressing reporters with Vice President–elect Kamala Harris at his side, includes human figures wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Still, the newest first family is at least recognizable, and Abvabi Best also gets the dogs’ coloring right as well as populating the backgrounds with a diverse cast (including an Obama-era flashback of the African American first couple next to the White vice-presidential couple). If her final view, of the canines snuggled down in the Oval Office, is a bit speculative (not to say idealized), it does bring the double tribute to a cozy, companionable close. A closing timeline of U.S. presidential pets and a note on the histories of the two dogs and information about shelter pets in general add a few morsels of fact to chew on. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 79% of actual size.)

A superficial tail wagger, but it’s good to see the White House going to the dogs literally again rather than otherwise. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-40714-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With four likable, diverse characters and the surefire appeal of cute puppies and other pets, the Critter Club is off to a...

AMY AND THE MISSING PUPPY

From the Critter Club series , Vol. 1

Amy, left alone while her friends travel or are otherwise occupied during break, solves a mystery in this series opener.

Amy whiles away her time helping with her mother’s veterinary practice. She misses her friends but looks forward to their next sleepover when everyone returns. When she’s not busy, she dives into her newest Nancy Drew book. When her mother’s wealthiest client’s puppy, Rufus, goes missing, it’s time for Amy to use what she has learned from Nancy Drew to find the little Saint Bernard. When she does, the millionaire client generously plans to start a local shelter, at which the four friends can volunteer, opening the door for further adventures of the Critter Club. A mystery for emerging chapter-book readers has to provide easy-to-see clues, and this one does, enabling readers to solve the mystery right along with Amy. At times, the narrative is a bit too obvious: There is probably no need to have a full paragraph explaining the purpose of a vet’s office nor descriptions of the girls’ physical characteristics, given that each page is illustrated.

With four likable, diverse characters and the surefire appeal of cute puppies and other pets, the Critter Club is off to a promising start. (Mystery. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5770-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more