CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 22. . . .February 12, 2016
Dukes is a pampered city dog who is dismayed when his owner whisks him away from his urban home and unceremoniously deposits him in what appears to be the middle of nowhere (but which is, in fact, rural Prince Edward Island). In time, Dukes grows to love his new home in the countryside, and he even manages to convince his owner that a life spent among nature is the happiest life of all.
The clay illustrations in The Pup From Away are undoubtedly quite charming, and the simple text is pleasant enough, but there's nothing particularly memorable or noteworthy about this slight book. The text is unfortunately quite difficult to read, printed in a small font on a variety of different backgrounds, some of which blend into the text, others which distract from it. The design and placement of the book's text could make it difficult for emerging readers to tackle while its diminutive size makes The Pup From Away an unlikely choice for reading aloud to a group.
There might be regional interest in a story set in Prince Edward Island (which isn't actually named but is suggested by the long, seemingly endless bridge that Dukes and his owner travel across to get to his new home, as well as a mention of red island mud), and the story's suggestion that a life lived in the country is preferable to life in a city might be appealing in rural markets.
Stories of children and/or animals adapting to life in a new neighbourhood abound in children's literature, and there are any number of excellent titles for teachers, librarians and parents to choose from. The Pup From Away isn't necessarily a bad story, but, because of its design and storytelling limitations, I would hesitate to recommend it as an addition to most collections.
Jane Whittingham is a Children's Librarian with the Vancouver Public Library.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.