There’s a single conceit to this series: Fenway, the exuberant Jack Russell terrier who relates the tale, understands people—but in a charming and, well, doggy way.
That’s not much to sustain the narrative for middle-grade audiences, since characterizations are simplistically filtered through Fenway’s canine mind. In this second in the series, Fenway’s girl, Hattie, is caring for a pet rabbit. Fenway regards Evil Bunny as he does the wild backyard rabbits: it’s a dangerous threat. He’s also painfully jealous, as Hattie finds the rabbit all too cute. Fenway doesn’t observe the racial characteristics of people but sort of understands the language of his family, including Hattie’s parents, Fetch Man and Food Lady, the latter of whom is given to saying things like “Weul see” and “Wah-chim.” There are scattered subtle hints of other issues. Hattie feels torn between super-girlie friend Zahra and baseball-focused Angel, but Fenway is oblivious to the strained relationship between neighboring dogs Patches, a newcomer, and Goldie, a jealous first pet. Hattie lets Zahra take the blame for the tear Fenway makes in Angel’s baseball jacket, although later she owns up. In a lively scene, Fenway wrecks the house while chasing the rabbit right out the door. Only later does he bravely rescue the bunny to restore Hattie’s (and his own) happiness.
A slight and predictable story that will likely find most appeal with serious dog (or bunny) lovers. (Fiction. 8-10)