A debut kids’ chapter book about a dog-loving couple’s real-life search for the perfect pup.
Author Dory’s affection for Stanford and Samantha, her pair of chocolate Labradors, is clear from the start. In her dedication, she credits the canines with teaching her “how deep love for a pet can be.” The story is told in the third person, but photographs throughout make it clear that it’s Dory’s personal account of how she and her husband agreed that it was time “to fill the house with more noise” and get a dog. Soon, one dog became two. This first book in a planned series is written with cheerful energy and establishes the image of a strong family unit; Dory includes her grown son in the story with unmistakable pride. The tale is dominated by “Papa’s and Mama’s” search for the right breeders and dogs to fit the couple’s lifestyle. (The book advises caution in finding a breeder, but it’s disappointing that no mention is made of rescue organizations as a possible resource.) The couple prepares “as if the puppies were newborns coming home from the hospital….Lots of sleepless nights, laughter, frustration, extra patience, hugs and kisses, and more were ahead for the new parents.” There’s quite a bit of prose in that vein, and only readers who adore dogs with the same fervor are likely to find it altogether palatable. That said, the author’s spirit is infectious, and she has an engaging way with scene-setting, particularly during the couple’s road trips: “They were all ready for the adventure—city folks heading to the mountain valley and forest of Virginia in Shenandoah County with their GPS.” After a long car ride home, the two Lab puppies—“cuddly, energetic, naughty bad boy” Stanford and “independent, lovable little” Samantha—are welcomed into their new family.
A bubbly chronicle of canine-centered events that will appeal most to children who love puppies and like-minded adult dog owners.