A perceptive dog rescues a family in crisis with sheer cleverness and humor.
“McTavish’s decision to adopt the Peachey family was not the most sensible decision of his life.” So begins the adventure of a sandy-colored terrier who arrives unbidden, like Mary Poppins, in this domestic satire. Having “decided to give up being a mother,” Ma Peachey is boycotting her household responsibilities, leaving Pa Peachey cranky, Ava (14) gloomy, and Ollie (12) petulant. Only 8-year-old Betty is wise enough to see their dire straits. Who will do the cooking and the cleaning and get everyone to school on time? McTavish sees the youngest one’s sensible nature and works with her, without magic or fantasy, to bring the family back from the brink even as Ma Peachey indulges her yoga habit while the household falls to pieces. If the essential ridiculousness can be overlooked, this is a sweetly humorous story about training a family to behave. Readers will enjoy seeing the role reversal of the dog adopting a family, and they might gain some psychological awareness of others. Easton’s grayscale illustrations in her debut offer a gentle counterpoint, depicting the round-shouldered members of the Peachey family with light skin and straight, dark hair.
This book is a good selection for those ready for the next step beyond early readers and will undoubtedly create more children wanting a great dog to join the family. (Fantasy. 7-10)