Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Review - No Room for a Pup!

No Room for a Pup!
by Elizabeth Suneby & Laurel Molk
illustrated by Laurel Molk
Date: 2019
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Mia wants a dog more than anything. But according to her mom, there is just NO ROOM in their very small apartment. Then one day, when she and her grandma are visiting a friend who is giving away puppies, Mia falls in love with a small spotted pup who crawls into her lap. She knows she just has to convince her mom to let her keep him! With help from Grandma --- and some of her pet-owning friends --- can Mia show her mom how much room there really is in their apartment?

In this charming picture book from Elizabeth Suneby and Laurel Molk, an I-want-a-dog story meets the Yiddish folk tale about how things could always be worse --- to comic effect! With a narrative and illustrations that are action-packed, this is a terrific read-aloud. The timely messages about the importance of gratitude for what one has, the need for generosity and the inclusion of others --- "there's always room for one more" --- resonate. This book makes a wonderful social studies resource for discussions about families and communities, with an intergenerational storyline full of endearing characters --- Mia, her mother and her grandmother live in the same apartment building, along with a diverse cast of neighbors. It also works for character education lessons on kindness, perseverance and initiative.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

On the surface, this seems like a cute story about a girl who really wants a dog. But I felt distinctly uncomfortable while reading this. Why? Because it basically advocates a "no-means-push-harder" attitude.

Mia doesn't accept the fact that her mom says that there's no room for a dog in their tiny apartment. That should've been the end of it. But the kid conspires with her grandmother to cause chaos, undermine her own mother, and manipulate her into changing her mind. There are all sorts of conversations to be had about consent here... but the book merely takes the easy route and has the mother give in (even though, as it turns out, her objections were warranted).

The illustrations are lovely and fun. They're probably the highlight of the book for me.

I've never read another version of this folktale, so I don't really know how No Room for a Pup! compares. Taken on its own, though, I can see it causing problems with relentless begging and whining and filling the house up with unwanted animals; I don't think pet-free parents are going to appreciate this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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