Good Dog, McTavish by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Grace Easton. Candlewick, 9781536200584, 2017
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Realistic fiction/dog story
What did you like about the book? Ma Peachy has had enough. In addition to her full-time job as an accountant, she cooks, cleans and jollies along her husband and three children. She goes on strike to pursue her true passion (yoga) leaving grumpy Pa, girl-crazy Ollie, existential Ava and 8-year-old Betty to their own devices. Soon the house is a mess and everyone’s tired of eating frozen food and pizza. Betty, the only one in the family with any common sense, suggests they get a dog and McTavish, a dog longer than he is tall, decides to adopt them. Through strategic doggie tactics, he mentors the family back to a more wholesome way of life. It’s all very arch and British, sort of Fawlty Towers meets The Penderwicks. Mod black-and-white illustrations using collage and mixed-media help paint a picture of the Peachy family’s visit to the Cuddle’s Home for Unclaimed Mutts and McTavish’s integration into his new family’s hearts. It is very short and does include some sensible suggestions on dog care.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I did think the book was cute and funny, but written more for an adult sensibility. Ava casually refers to her father as a sociopath, Ma Peachy mentions she’s thinking of moving to India with her yoga teacher (described as a handsome young man with firm thighs) and McTavish must be distantly related to P.G. Wodehouse’s famous butler, Jeeves.
To whom would you recommend this book? This would be a good choice for dog lovers who like offbeat humor or a read aloud for families considering a shelter dog.
Who should buy this book? Elementary schools, public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: April 26, 2019