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by Rosemary Wells & illustrated by Susan Jeffers

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0647-8
Publisher: Hyperion

A doggy celebration of bilingualism starring everybody’s favorite Westie. In this fifth series outing from Wells and Jeffers (McDuff’s New Friend, 1998, etc.), McDuff is intrigued by his new neighbor, Marie the Scottie, but Fred and Lucy, his owners, display a certain narrow-mindedness toward the new human arrivals: “They’re speaking in a foreign language. . . . They’re going to have to learn English.” But when McDuff fails to jump down off the de Gaulles’ couch on demand, Fred and Lucy enroll him in dog school. Celeste and Marie enroll too, and practice faithfully every day; Fred and Lucy are too busy to practice with McDuff. Soon Celeste has a bored McDuff running through the basic commands perfectly along with Marie—in French, so on the last day of class, McDuff humiliates Fred and Lucy by not responding to their English commands. Celeste puts him through his paces in French to win a red ribbon, and the two families celebrate with “a grand French picnic.” Wells injects a warm humor into this brief story (Marie barks in French: “Ouf!”) that, despite a real rise in the level of complexity over previous McDuff books, delivers its message directly and without preachiness. Jeffers’s illustrations infuse her canine subjects with enormous personality (a wistful McDuff peers through the fence as Marie earns yet another liver truffle), and her sunny retro world retains its charm from the earlier books. An illustrated glossary of French commands, including pronunciation guides, follows the story. McDuff’s fans are well served by this offering. Ouf! (Picture book. 3-6)