Magical travel, doggy style.
When Sparky, a yappy mutt, unearths a magic bone, he is transported to Buckingham Palace. There, he quickly befriends a bossy corgi who helps him navigate the new terrain. Though the story is told in Sparky’s ingenuous first-canine voice, it’s clear that Sparky is a less-than-obedient dog. Young readers will revel in his naughtiness, especially when he upbraids his appendages for causing all his troubles. Eventually, he is captured and sent to the pound and escapes again, this time with new dog pal Watson, a forlorn little mongrel. Together, they find the bone again and test out the magic. The dog’s point of view wears thin in spots, especially when Sparky sinks into potty talk: “tooting” when eating beans and sniffing a human’s behind. Calculated to capture the Captain Underpants crowd, these diversions interfere with the dog voice and detract from the true humor of the story. The constant reference to humans as “two-legs” when Sparky seems to have a good command of other vocabulary seems forced, as well. Black-and-white illustrations grace most spreads and add smiles and energy. Emerging readers, especially dog lovers, will find this light fare easy to read but not particularly meaty.
Not much to chew on here. (London facts) (Fantasy. 5-8)