Friday, September 13, 2019

Review - McDuff Moves In

McDuff Moves In (McDuff)
by Rosemary Wells
illustrated by Susan Jeffers
Date: 1997
Publisher: The Gryphon Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

The Gryphon Press is delighted to bring this classic children’s picture from the dream team of author Rosemary Wells and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Susan Jeffers back into print.

Set in the 1930s, a little dog bounces out of a dogcatcher’s truck one night and searches the neighborhood looking for a home. Fred and Lucy, a young couple, take him in, and bathe and feed him, but decide they are too busy to keep him.

After they set out for the dog pound, they realize that they can’t give him away. At home again, during a late night celebration of adoption, they name him McDuff after their favorite brand of shortbread biscuit.

(synopsis from NetGalley; see it on Goodreads)

This is a bit of an oldie, although I never read it when it was first published (as I was already an adult and hadn't yet realized how much fun it can be to read children's picture books). The story, set in the 1930s, is about a little white dog who finds himself lost and alone after "escaping" from the dogcatcher. After he meets Lucy and Fred, he just may have found his forever home.

The story is sweet and simple, and the illustrations are quite cute (there's one where everybody's in bed and holding hands/paws that is rather adorable). I don't really have a problem with the story... except when it comes to what they're feeding the dog. In this respect, it reminds me of The Poky Little Puppy and its emphasis on feeding desserts to dogs. The same thing happens here, with Lucy feeding McDuff rice pudding with sliced sausages. Now, that's not terrible (there are worse things you can feed dogs, after all), but then the book has to go and reinforce it by including a recipe for rice pudding that includes warning about feeding dogs things like vanilla extract and milk. It seems odd to have included such a recipe if it needs those caveats. (It would've made more sense to emphasize the sausages, rather than the sugary dessert.)

A note at the end explains about the dire situation for dogs in shelters, and also offers some suggestions. Unfortunately, they're inaccurate. The book states that Petfinder operates in the US and Mexico... when, in fact, it operates in all of North America. It's sad that Canadian children might feel like they have no opportunity to adopt a dog simply because the book inexplicably gets it wrong.

This is a charming little story with a retro feel. But parents should be aware that the back matter isn't 100% accurate, and could be potentially harmful to a dog's digestive system.

Thank you to NetGalley and The Gryphon Press for providing a digital ARC.

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

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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