I Am A Literary Maven
(Maven - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field.~AHM)
Oh. Well, that sounds about right. So, your local maven goes to his mailbox the other day and finds a note from a children's book publisher askin' if I would like to write about some of their dog books. Since I'm always ready to give my opinion on anything—and since I'm an expert on all things canine—why not?
The first two books arrived the other day, all about (of all dogs) a Russell Terrier. You regulars know about my on-again-off-again friendship with Maury, and this particular Russell is no Maury—thank the dog-god. No, this is Jack Russell: Dog Detective witten by Jack himself and transcribed by Darrel and Sally Odgers. (They're from Australia so what they're doin' with a Russell Terrier instead of an Aussie Terrier like me is the real mystery as far as I can see.)
The first book AHM read me was called The Mugged Pug, a pretty good story the seven to eleven-year-olds will probably like. The sevens more than the elevens, I think, dependin' on their readin' level. (Mine is superior, so I figurered it out real quick. Humans, of course, are slower.)
Anyway, the dogs in Doggeroo (glad to see they avoided the oh-too-easy Diggery Doo reference, though it is a sort of whiny instrument so it might have been appropriate after all) are losin' their special new collars and gettin' nicked by the local dog catcher. I better warn ya' most of the humans in this story have vaguely dog-related names like the Dog Control Officer Johnny Wolf, or Walter Barkley or Dora Barkens. (I've never met any humans with those sort of names all livin' in one place. Must be an Australian thing.)
Bein' arrogant and yappy, like all Russells, Jack immediately smells a mystery. Since eveyone else in the story is dumber than the fe-lyin' Fat Molly Cat (inarticulate as well as stupid like your average fe-lyin'), it's up to Jack to solve it. He drags along his buds Foxie, the fox terrier, and Lord Red, the Irish setter who sorta' help when they're not too busy worryin' 'bout food, fleas, and chasin' their tails. (Geeze, some dogs have no class!)
Jack does get a little too cute sometimes, replacin' perfectly good human words with a "dog" word—like pawly for poorly, apaws for applause, and pawful for…well, you get the idea. He probably shoulda' kept a closer eye on the humans who were helpin' him write. I gotta' keep mine on AHM every minute or she'd probably be usin' words like pupular or pawfect too. Humans love getting' carried away with that kind of stuff. Luckily there's a glossary after each chapter so the kiddies will know what the heck Jack's is really sayin'!
Gotta' say I'm opposed to some of Jack's advice, though, like usin' a "jack-attack" to get attention. A "jack-attack," is, accordin' to Jack's Glossary, "Growling and biting and worrying at trouser legs." We more sophisticated terriers never engage in such activities unless, of course, Timmy's fallen in the well (again). A simple pat on the foot or leg is quite adequate, thank you. 'Course he is a Russell and they do tend to fly off the handle over the slightest thing. His humans probably ignore his hysterics until teeth are involved.
The endin' is logical, clever, and your older pups should figure this one out before the last "jack-attack"—or before Jack's fictional owner runs out of unshredded trouser legs, whichever comes first.
The Mugged Pug by Darrel and Sally Odgers
Line Drawings by Jenine Dawson
Kane/Miller Book Publishers; ISBN-978=1-933605-32-6
Paperback/84 pages/7-11 years old
posted by Harrison at 10:07 PM