THE SECRET LIFE OF FIGGY MUSTARDO by Marsha Wilson Chall

THE SECRET LIFE OF FIGGY MUSTARDO

Age Range: 4 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A bored, imaginative dog makes his dreams a reality.

Figgy loves his human owner, George Mustardo. But sometimes George leaves for long stretches of time. A pattern develops: the very bored Figgy waits, eats something he shouldn’t, and then dreams about something directly related to the item ingested. When Figgy awakens, he makes his dreams come true. Despite this obvious intentionality, Figgy’s dreams (himself as a rock star, pizza maker, race car driver) feel arbitrary. And while a canine protagonist who thinks like a human requires a suspension of disbelief, the fact that Figgy is sometimes very doggish (eating paper) and other times very human (rock-’n’-rolling) is strange—as are the pop-culture references that young children will most likely miss. Spreads depicting Figgy’s life, dreams, and dreams-come-true lack dynamic, while the few pages in which he’s bored—three separate illustrations per spread with hilariously evident emotion—are the most engaging. And though Figgy has personality, the other animals depicted are cute but disappointingly flat. The clunky ending, during which Figgy decides to give himself away while his family (all white), who thinks he’s unwell, provides him with a companion rather than a trip to the vet or more attention, doesn’t make much sense.

With a peculiar ending, shaky plot, and passive art, this book may appeal to hard-core dog lovers, but it will likely leave general readers befuddled. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 7th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-228582-9
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016




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