CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 31. . . .April 17, 2015
Piper’s First Show. (The Puppy Collection; 5).
Susan Hughes. Illustrated by Leanne Franson.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2015.
89 pp., trade pbk., $5.99.
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Kate Hachborn.
She began to walk Piper in a big circle on the grass. Now Kat noticed a boy leaning against a tree, watching. She guessed he was about eleven years old. Beside him, sitting patiently, was a black and tan daschund.
Kat continued. She gave Piper treats as she walked. But when Piper saw the other dog, she wagged her tail. She tried to go and say hello.
“No, Piper,” said Kat. “Come on. We’re not done yet.”
She continued walking the circle, but Piper was not looking up at her anymore. Her attention was on the daschund.
Kat stopped in front of Maya and Grace. She tried to encourage Piper to stand nicely while Grace stroked her and looked at her teeth, but Piper wiggled and waggled.
“It’s that boy,” said Kat, annoyed. “That boy and his dog. Piper keeps looking at them.”
Maya shrugged. “Well, that’s why your aunt said we should come here. To get Piper used to distractions.”
But why did it have to happen when she was training Piper? Just when Piper was beginning to listen to her.
Kat and her friends, Maya and Grace, have been asked to help Aunt Jenn continue to train a puppy named Piper while Piper’s owner is out of town on business. With the dog show approaching, Kat and her friends are working with the dog every day to make sure that he is ready to go. Piper seems to behave properly for Maya and Grace, but every time Kat tries to train Piper, something goes wrong. The girls meet a boy and his dog in the park, but Kat is quick to blame him for her problems controlling Piper. The girls attend the dog show and run into a few familiar friends, dog and human alike.
Kat is confident in her knowledge of dogs and is thrown when she is the only one who has issues controlling Piper. In Kat’s mind, her doubt and impatience begin to impede Piper’s training. Robert, the boy from the park, provides Kat with a few tips on how to remain focused and optimistic, but once they meet at the dog show, it is Robert that needs a boost in confidence. Hughes positively resolves concerns about self-doubt, both for Kat and Robert, placing an emphasis on the importance of friendship and responsibility.
Chapters are fairly short for readers transitioning to chapter books, and it contains pictures throughout the text. The vocabulary is age-appropriate, and there is some description of specific dog breeds and dog training terms. Readers familiar with Ben Baglio’s “Animal Ark” series will enjoy “The Puppy Collection”.
Kate Hachborn is a library technician at the W. Ross Macdonald School in Brantford, ON.
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