When is a dog not a dog? When he’s an octopuppy.
“Edgar wanted a dog. / But Edgar didn’t get a dog. He got Jarvis.” Edgar’s strange new pet can’t do any of the cool things a dog does. Jarvis has eight wiggly arms and is no good on walks. Acknowledging that Jarvis is clever, however, Edgar thinks, upon seeing a poster for a dog show, that with a little training, Jarvis might be able to do what show dogs do. When he commands “lie down,” Jarvis puts on a night cap and jammies and snuggles up with a teddy bear. When Edgar commands “play dead,” Jarvis dons a mummy’s bandages and moans atmospherically. He’s almost a total failure…but Jarvis does learn to sit. The spectacularly talented Jarvis is, unfortunately, a disaster at the dog show, angering and embarrassing Edgar. It is only after Jarvis leaves (leaving a note apologizing for being a bad dog) that Edgar realizes what a great pet he had. British illustrator McKenna’s first U.S. release is an excellent, absurd addition to the I-want-a-pet genre. His digitally created art, dotted with wacky detail and visual gags, effectively milks the situation for maximum looniness, absolutely going to town with the body-language possibilities offered by eight arms.
Jarvis’ tale will inspire listeners to laugh...and ask for an octopuppy. (Picture book. 3-8)