After puppy leaves the farm to live in the city, she must adjust to life with her spoiled poodle sisters, obedience school and her first crush.
In the first book of a promising series, Kaupp introduces sweet, friendly Amberella Corgi Stafford, the young offspring of a Welsh corgi and Staffordshire bull terrier. Always up for new adventures, Amberella leaves her home on the farm to go live with a sophisticated family in the city. The family includes two prissy poodle sisters, Zozue and Tutsu, and Grand-mére, a human who can hear dogs talk. Shallow Zozue and Tutsu immediately dismiss their new sister, shocked to discover that they’re supposed to accept the country-bred puppy as one of their own. But after a few incidences of inhospitable behavior, the sisters realize that Amberella isn’t going anywhere; they grow to like her. Grand-mére sends Amberella to obedience school, where, after she develops a crush on a black Labrador named Prince, she must navigate new, unexpected feelings. While the “city mouse, country mouse” plot is one that’s been covered many times before, this book offers useful lessons for elementary-grade readers, such as how to handle bullying, make friends and understand a crush. But what sets Kaupp’s debut apart is that Grand-mére takes the puppies to Paris to reunite with Tutsu and Zozue’s old governess and take in the sights. Not only are French words sprinkled throughout—a handy word list at the front of the book provides translations and pronunciation help—but the dogs also visit major French sites like Versailles. Kaupp’s writing is also engaging, and short chapters and illustrations sprinkled throughout make this a manageable text for young readers.
A fun main character, important lessons and an emphasis on French culture will make this a memorable experience for early readers.