Puppies are abandoned, rescued and adopted in this predictable holiday story that features dogs that can think and talk to each other with a human level of communication.
The three talking puppies are a protective pair of brothers, Ruff and Tuff, and their shy sister, Penny. At the animal shelter they befriend an older gray dog, Brownie, who advises the brothers to act wild and naughty whenever prospective owners arrive so that their sister will find a home first. A family with two older sons and a younger sister comes to the shelter on Christmas Eve, and the little girl picks the quieter female puppy. But—surprise!—the boys want the male puppies, and the parents like the more mature, older dog, so they all go home together to the family farm. (Adult readers will have to suspend disbelief that a shelter would allow one family to take home four dogs at once.) The story is unobjectionable but unexceptional, and the Christmas setting doesn’t elevate it from the ordinary acquiring-a-pet story. The large-format illustrations of the dogs are appealing, but there is a problem in differentiation among the puppies, as two have similar coloring.This trio of pups tries to please but fails to deliver any holiday magic. (Picture book. 3-6)