Archive for April 19, 2019

Good Dog, McTavish

Written by Meg Rosoff
Illustrated by Grace Easton

The Peachy family is, shall we say, dysfunctional. In fact, each member is so wrapped up in themselves that it’s a wonder anything at all happens. What’s the answer? A dog, of course.

In this dryly humorous new book, the author finds the answer for the Peachys.

Ma Peachy is so fed up, she abandons all her motherly duties to take up yoga. When the household begins to fall apart, almost-nine Betty insists that the rest of the family find a dog at the local shelter. McTavish adopts the family and sets about straightening them out. He gets them to put away their clothing and shoes by gathering all stray items at his bed and chewing on all stray shoes. He gets them to eat better by refusing to eat anything but boiled chicken and rice with vegetables. He gets them to wake at a reasonable hour by making a fuss at a very early hour. After the family members learn to act like a family, Ma Peachy abandons her yoga.

Anyone who’s ever been trained by a dog knows how powerfully they can change a person. Beyond that, readers will see how a real family functions and what they can do to help that along. Plus, this is just a fun book.

  • Good Dog McTavishTitle: Good Dog, McTavish
  • Author: Meg Rosoff
  • Illustrator: Grace Easton
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2019
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 112 pages
  • Grade Level: 2 to 5
  • Genre: Chapter book, Humor, Family
  • ISBN: 978-1-5362-0058-4

Charlie Bumpers vs. The End of the Year

Written by Bill Harley
Illustrated by Adam Gustavson

Charlie has reached the end of fourth grade, and the author has reached the end of this series.

Not only must Charlie say goodbye to fourth grade, but he must say goodbye to Hector, one of his best friends. Hector’s family is moving back to Chile. Not wanting to let all that go, Charlie and his other best friend, Tommy, devise a scheme to ensure that Hector needs to stick around for fifth grade. They try to convince the teachers that Hector should be chosen as School Ambassador, a position of great responsibility. Charlie and Tommy discover that changing an adult’s mind about anything is not an easy task. They also find that making copies on Tommy’s dad’s copier can lead to disaster – or disastrophe, as they call it. Meanwhile, Hector is being bullied by the Jerzollies of Darkness – three fifth graders who are jerks, bozos, and bullies. Charlie has to figure out how to help Hector with them. Of course, he finds he has more support than he suspected.

The story is fun, engaging, and relevant. The illustrations are great additions to the story and beautifully done. Like Charlie, we’re sad to see fourth grade end.

  • Bumpers End of the YearTitle: Charlie Bumpers vs The End of the Year
  • Author: Bill Harley
  • Illustrator: Adam Gustavson
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, 2019
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
  • Grade Level: 3 to 7
  • Genre: Chapter book, Humor, Coming of Age, Bullying
  • ISBN: 978-1-68263-042-6