A dog's tale by Barry Jonsberg

cover image

Ill. by Tom Jellett. Mates series. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781742991399
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Dogs. Animals. Friendship.
Another in the Mates series, a wonderful range of stories designed for the young, newly competent reader, with short chapters, a smattering of illustrations and larger print, A dog's tale is full of wit and humour for all readers to recognise and chuckle over.
Michael desperately wants a dog. He systematically works through all the reasons his parents bring up not to have a pet. He has worked out that one from a rescue home would be ideal and pins a picture from the home on the fridge for all to see, negating his father's thoughts about puppy farms.
He glues his old toy puppy to his unloved skateboard and takes the dog for a walk several times a day to show how responsible he is at looking after a pet. He feeds his baby sister, and even changes her napkin, when presented with the idea that dogs need their poo cleaned up. He is remarkably responsible in all the things he does trying to convince his parents of his abilities. But to no avail.
Children will laugh out loud at his devious plan, and cheer him on in trying out different ways to overcome his parents opposition.
When at Christmas something leads him to believe they have relented, the funny twist will delight the readers, knowing that his parents have not given up the idea entirely, leaving Michael with the option of getting a dog in the future. Persistence has almost won out.
The single-mindedness of Michael will cheer the readers, as they recognise that he has gone about making his position clear through subtle determination.
Another level of humour is reflected in Jellett's wonderful illustrations showing wry looks on the parents' faces as they endeavour to deflect Michael's request, or the looks on Michael's face as he changes his sister's nappy. Each page brings a laugh and the story will be eagerly shared by the new readers, eager to show off their new reading skills, as well as their sophistication at understanding both textual and visual jokes.
Fran Knight