BOOK REVIEW: My Perfect Pup by Sue Walker, illustrated by Anil Tortop
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell
The blurb of this book suggests that the story is about a dog waiting to be taken home for the first time:
One puppy sits excitedly in a pet shop waiting for the perfect home. Will it be the twins, Milly and Max, or Joe who takes him home?
But that’s really not how it plays out at all.
Instead, we’re offered the story of two kids who go to the “Perfect Pupshop” and leave with a tiny little puppy that will be all the things they want it to be:
‘I want a pretty pup,’ said Milly. ‘So I can brush it, and primp it, and preen it.’
‘I want a clever pup,’ said Max. ‘So it can learn tricks and ride in the back of our bicycle.
They call him Tiny, but he soon grows big, and doesn’t like being primped and preened or doing tricks.
And so… they take him back to the Pupshop.
The puppy isn’t so cute and little and playful anymore, and so they get rid of him.
Things work out alright in the end, with “Tiny” going to live on a farm where he has a lot more in common with his new owners and they change his name to Horse. So the second part of the book could almost be seen as something of a rescue story, with the second family taking in an older dog… but the first part of the story just does not sit well with this dog-owner.
Owning a dog is a responsibility, and research should be done before taking said responsibility on… but if that research isn’t done, and the dog grows up and isn’t as pretty or as clever as you expected, you don’t just give up and put the animal through emotional torment and rejection. This is up there with people who get rid of their animals because they’re moving into a new place that won’t allow pets, or they start dating someone who hates animals.
In the story, the author and illustrator try to show that there is no torment here for the dog:
Tiny didn’t miss Milly and Max for a minute… because he was much too busy choosing a friend.
This just isn’t realistic. In the time that it took for that puppy to grow into a big dog, even if it was just a matter of a month or two, he would have been attached to them.
The only saving grace for this book, or perhaps the biggest pity about it, is that the illustrations are gorgeous.
I’d half consider getting this book for the pictures alone, and will definitely be keeping an eye out for other titles by this illustrator.
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