Review Blog

Sep 03 2020

We love you Magoo by Briony Stewart

cover image

Puffin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760896904.
(Age: 3+) Recommended. In short rhyming phrases, the story of Magoo, the family dog, unfolds as they try to restrict his behaviour, letting him know exactly what is his to eat, drink and play with in the house. He is testing them, seeing just how far he can go, while they are trying to restrict his behaviour, letting him know what he can and cannot do in the house. But training a dog has its difficulties, especially such a cute dog as Magoo with his angelic ears and large pleading eyes. At breakfast time he is sure the eggs on a plate on the table are for him, but he is shown the less attractive bowl on the floor; getting into the house has its problems as he scratches on the door, only to be shown a dog flap in the door just for him; while having a drink does not mean leaning into the toilet bowl, getting the blue all over the floor, instead he is to use the water bowl on the floor. Each set of four pages shows the dog doing something he is not to do, while over the page offering the behaviour that is acceptable.
It is a wonderfully funny way to show readers the sort of behaviour acceptable for a dog to display in a house, teaching them the rudiments of training an animal. Humour abounds as the dog leaps its way through the house, begging at the table, scratching at the door, rummaging through the pot plants, sitting in the car and drinking from the toilet bowl. Children will laugh with recognition at the behaviours shown by the dog, and offer stories of what their dog does that is naughty. Magoo's training is expressed in rhyming lines, making this a wonderful read aloud, asking children to predict the rhyming words, and when the book is read again, as it will be, they will learn some of the lines to join in. The expressions on the dog's face are wonderfully apt, showing him pleased, contrite, saddened, exuberant and hang dog, while the last page is full of love, showing the best way to discipline an animal is with kindness (and food).
Themes: Dogs, Animals, Training, Behaviour, Humour.
Fran Knight

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