The Puppy Problem

Bloomsbury. (The Daily Bark: Bk. 1). Jan. 2022. 128p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781547608812.
Gr 2-4–Daschund Gizmo is firmly a city dog until his owner, Granny, moves to the village of Puddle to write. He quickly befriends the Irish Wolfhound next door, Jilly, and her four puppies—but trouble arises when Jilly laments that her owners will be selling her puppies far away, never to be seen again. She asks Gizmo for his help searching for a local home for them, connecting him with more canine Puddle residents in the process, like speedy Greyhound Lola and German Shepherd Bruno (who’s also a hairdresser). Eventually he’s struck with journalistic inspiration and creates a bulletin about the puppies on Granny’s typewriter. The bulletin is an overwhelming success, spreading the message among the dogs to lead their (rather oblivious) human owners to the stoop where Jilly has presented her puppies for adoption. All ends well, and Gizmo’s stellar idea breeds an even bigger one among the dogs of Puddle: a newspaper called The Daily Bark, wherein each dog contributes according to their strengths. This series debut is a sweet story of being welcomed into a community, with language that introduces chapter book readers to more advanced vocabulary and syntax. Charming illustrations showcase full-color, adorable dogs on monochrome backgrounds and capture the personalities of each Puddle resident, alongside tongue-in-cheek references that will amuse older readers (one spread shows Jilly sitting among books including To The Doghouse and Mansfield Bark).
VERDICT Colorful, eye-catching illustrations and a sweet tale of a burgeoning doggy business set up a promising beginning to James’s latest series.–Ashleigh Williams, School Library JournalWarner, Gertrude Chandler. The Pizza Mystery. illus. by Liz Brizzi. 48p. (The Boxcar Children Time to Read). Albert Whitman. Oct. 2021. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780807565162. K-Gr 2–This “Time to Read” Level 2 title finds the four Alden children—Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny

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