Third-grader Ishan Mehra wages a successful campaign to repeal his mother's no-dogs-allowed rule by gently introducing her to a neighbor's dog.
Ishan’s original plan is to win his mother over by being especially nice and helpful. But things go wrong. His cooking makes a mess, his hall-painting makes a bigger one, and the sculpture he and his friends make with the desserts at a large community party is a big mistake. But when an elderly neighbor faints, Ishan has the presence of mind to call 9-1-1 and is allowed to keep the man’s dog for a few days—time enough to help his mother get over her childhood fears. Sheth’s first novel for younger readers (Boys Without Names, 2010, etc.) features a likable, determined protagonist, gentle humor and a familiar family situation. Hindi words and details of Indian-American culture—especially the food—are woven into the story, always with an explanation. The first-person, present-tense narration includes short paragraphs, ample dialogue and illustrations every few pages (final art not seen). While the multicultural aspect of this title is important, its real strength is the familiarity of Ishan’s situation. Elementary school readers will find it easy to identify with both his younger-brother troubles and his desperate desire for a dog.
Just right for aspiring pet owners. (Fiction. 6-9)