CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 38. . . .June 9, 2017
Princess Pistachio is worried about her pet dog. She calls him Dog, and he sleeps most of the day and night. She thinks he has a very boring life which needs more adventure and excitement. When she tries to pay ball with him, he waddles away to his cushion. The very next day, she decides to take Dog to school with her so that he can learn something, but Dog gets into trouble with grumpy Mr. Grumblebrain, and Pistachio is very embarrassed!
On her way home a few days later, Pistachio sees an advertisement for a “talented, intelligent, beautiful dog to play a starring role in a theater production.” She immediately thinks that Dog would be perfect for the role! Her best friend Madeline laughs at her for this idea, and the two friends have an argument. When Dog auditions, the director is thrilled and immediately hires him. Dog is renamed Maurice the Magnificent and becomes an overnight sensation, much to the disappointment of Pistachio’s best friend Madeline who is very jealous of his fame Pistachio is very proud and can’t talk about anything else until one day Maurice is dog-napped. Who would do such a thing? Can Pistachio find her dog and save her friendship?
Young readers making the transition to chapter books will once again be thrilled to read about the adventures of intrepid Pistachio and her bored dog, Maurice the Magnificent. The text is easy to read but challenging enough to engage young readers who will definitely be able to relate to the action in the story. Gay’s narration is full of dynamic descriptions: “Princess Pistachio’s dog is sleeping belly-up on his favorite plaid cushion. He is snoring like a frog with a cold.” (p. 7) Gay’s illustrations also provide a great deal of interesting information for readers. Princess Pistachio’s facial expressions are very evocative as are the various poses of Maurice the Magnificent. How can readers resist the endearing illustrations of Pistachio’s fellow students, Chichi and Fatim, as well as the grumpy Mr. Grumblebrain?
This is the third book in Marie-Louise Gay’s Pistachio series which began with Princess Pistachio and continued with Princess Pistachio and the Pest. Gay is the author/illustrator of over sixty books for children and has created many memorable characters, such as Caramba and Henry, as well as Stella and Sam. In 2013, she was awarded the Claude Aubry Award from IBBY Canada for distinguished service in children’s literature.
This book can definitely be used as a read-aloud for early emergent readers while fluent readers can read it themselves. There are many themes to explore in Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent, including caring for pets, theatre productions, jealousy, kidnapping, friendship, and loyalty.
Myra Junyk, who lives in Toronto, ON, is a literacy advocate and author.
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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.