Thursday, January 31, 2019

Review - Truman the Dog

Truman the Dog (My Furry Foster Family)
by Debbi Michiko Florence
illustrated by Melanie Demmer
Date: 2019
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Reading level: C
Book type: illustrated chapter book
Pages: 72
Format: e-book
Source: library

T is for Truman, tricks, and TROUBLE! Truman the black lab might be an older rescue dog, but he's still got enough mischief beneath his collar to keep eight-year-old Kaita Takano and her animal-fostering family on their toes from morning till night. Chewed through and through, the playfully illustrated, Kaita-narrated chapter book promises plenty of canine fun.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a nice early chapter book for kids about a girl and her family who foster a dog named Truman. It's well written and has an interesting premise. I think my main complaint is that it seems very young. The main character is eight, which I suppose gives you an idea of the book's audience, but even so, I thought the story was a little simplistic. Compared to, say, Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson series of chapter books, this one wasn't really challenging (the glossary of unfamiliar words in the back might be helpful for kids... but only if they don't know what words like "adopt" and "veterinarian" mean). I also didn't entirely buy the ease with which Kaita was able to give up Truman when it came time for him to go to his forever home; I have my doubts as to whether an eight-year-old would be able to let go so easily, without any tears. (Kaita is inspired by a real-life little girl, so perhaps the fictional Kaita's reaction was based on real life. Still, I would've liked to see the characters face a little more difficulty with this part of the story, since such a book might inspire a kid to want to foster an animal and they need to be prepared to have to give it up at some point.)

The illustrations are colourful and cute. I just wish there were more of them. There are only about two per chapter (and each chapter is around ten pages), so it made the book seem quite heavy on the text. Despite the simplicity of the story, the high text-to-picture ratio might be intimidating for some early readers.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the writing (even though it was simple, it was done well) and the interesting topic of fostering animals. The illustrations are fun, too. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it or not (I foresee whines of, "Can we foster a dog? Please?") but maybe this book would work for kids who already have pets and/or already have experience with fostering.

Thank you to NetGalley and Picture Window Books for providing a digital ARC.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.38 out of 5

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