The bad Bassinis by Clair Hume

cover image

Illus. by Tom Jellett. Scholastic, 2020. ISBN: 9781760663377. 24pp.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Tom Jellett's hilarious illustration on the front cover - two wide necked mean looking dogs, peering threateningly at the reader will draw immediate laughter and a thrilling need to open the book. The small spaniel between them trying to look equally as menacing cannot compete with his two companions. So why is he there? The stage is set for a laugh out loud read.
Hume's wonderful text tells of two bad dogs, patrolling the streets in search of other dogs to bully and harass. The Bassinis are not to be thwarted, Tina can open bottles with her teeth,Sid picks flower heads from their stalks, they taunt and howl, tip over rubbish bins and generally look for trouble. But one day a pup wanders into their path. Pipsqueak barks and barks and the Bassinis decide to take him under their wing, after all they need someone to carry their bones. But other dogs behave decidedly differently with Pipsqueak around. The Bassinis are ignored as the pup is petted and spoken to, patted and ruffled. The Bassinis marvel at how wonderful a friendly face can be, and decide to take Pipsqueak as their own, even singing at night to get him to sleep and during the day proudly walking the streets with him.
This lovely tale of belonging, of finding a family, will delight younger readers, knowing that they live with a family too, where they can be themselves. The change in the attitude of the Bassinis too will tickle readers as they see a pair full of bravado and attitude, soften when confronted with a younger smaller version of themselves, and find that life is much happier with a smile!
Readers will love Jellett's dogs, the looks on their faces are simply divine, the attributes of each dog family easily distinguished. Themes: Dogs, Behaviour, Bullying.
Fran Knight