An appealing children’s tale of a lively, loyal canine named Pip and his camping adventure with his favorite “Persons”: the author, a wildlife photographer; and her husband, a naturalist.
Furry little Pip is a Schipperke, a Belgian breed of canine, but as far as he’s concerned, he’s “pure Adventure dog.” In this charming, resonant first book in a planned series, Pip joyfully accompanies his owners, Micki Lu and Brad, on a camping trip to Texas’ Caprock Canyons State Park. Getting there is half the fun: In the truck, Pip sits in a special, dog-safe seat between his Persons, giving him a clear view of the passing scenery. He’s in a perfect spot to receive lots of affectionate petting during the trip, and the air vents keep him cool and bring in “all sorts of new and wonderful smells.” Pip hears Micki Lu talk about looking for horned toads to photograph, and he pictures the “fat, squishy things” in his backyard back home, noting that “not one of them had ever had horns!” At night, he curls up to sleep inside the “House on Wheels.” Just before dawn, he awakens and peers through the window, thrilled to see a raccoon and a deer with two fawns and somewhat relieved that the rustling he’d heard wasn’t caused by a “very big toad” with horns. His excitement and sense of discovery warms each page of this gentle, genuine story, as does the author’s apparent deep love and care for the real-life Pip—who’s not only the author’s companion, but her medical-alert dog as well. The book’s soft, expressive colored-pencil drawings follow Pip through human and natural environments, reflecting the observant authenticity of Lu’s storytelling, right down to Pip’s satisfying encounter with an actual horned toad.
A thoroughly charming illustrated children’s book about a curious, adventure-loving dog that bodes well for the series to come.