Following her debut in Poppy the Pirate Dog (2013), the seagoing Dalmatian is back for another outing.
This time, the normally perky pup is depressed, as the children in her family, Tim and Suzy, have returned to school after summer vacation. The family decides to acquire a “little brother” to keep Poppy company—but the new addition turns out to be not another dog as Poppy hoped, but an orange-striped kitten named George. The family focuses all their attention on the adorable new kitten, leaving Poppy even more desolate, and predictable conflict between cat and dog ensues. Also predictably, when George falls in the garden pond, Poppy rescues him, and they suddenly become best buddies. There is no pirate action or lingo beyond a couple of skull-and-crossbones bandannas, no seagoing adventure, and in fact, no real adventure of any kind. The rather wordy text is divided into five short chapters for beginning readers, but only previous Poppy fans or Dalmatian devotees are likely to be interested in the story. Loose watercolor-and-ink illustrations on every page give Poppy and George some personality, but the mundane text drags the overall effort down.
Poppy and her crew best be a-sparkin’ up the plots and purveying the piratical prattle soon, or this series is likely to be tossed overboard. (Early reader. 6-8)