‘We really enjoyed an earlier collaboration by this talented pair – Beware the Mighty Bitey – and this one is another laugh out loud story that will appeal to young readers.
When the elegant and rather snooty Shampooch emerges from her latest session at Furaway Pampering Salon she is all set to parade her charms to friends in the park. As she steps daintily towards the hill, other dogs call out to her to join them in their various messy pursuits. She is clearly out to impress and certainly looks very stylish but I liked the way that they don’t comment on this at all. They just want her to join them in the pleasures of rummaging in smelly bins, getting covered in mud and chasing rabbits. Having fun without worrying about looking good is what being a dog is all about after all.
As with all picture books published by Maverick, this one marries the energetic and amusing text with some splendid illustrations that bring the doggy characters to life. When I read it aloud to a group of three and four year olds recently, I found that I was inspired to use a range of voices to depict the quietly spoken, rather posh Shampooch through to the three gruffer, more down-to-earth ruffians who try to tempt her to stray from her chosen path. Who could resist finding different ways to convey the characters of Wagsy McBone, Woof-Whiffily and the gloriously named Sniffy-Bottingham? The graphic pictures show how, when Shampooch becomes tangled up with a kite as she climbs up the hill in the park, she tumbles back down to earth with a crash and eventually realises that getting dishevelled and a bit dirty doesn’t really matter at all – in fact it is rather good fun! The onomatopoeic words are carefully chosen to communicate the physical bumpiness of the ride ‘thwoked’, ‘skittered’, ‘hurtled’, ‘slithered’ and ‘flumped’ all add to children’s developing vocabulary.
The humans are pretty irrelevant in all this because dogs will be dogs, no matter how well trained and pampered they might be. We don’t see much of any of them until towards the end when it appears that the refined owners of Shampooch look remarkably similar to their pet with their long sleek hair and pointy noses.
This funny and unusual story is set to become a firm favourite with younger readers and would inspire some creative artwork and writing. At a deeper level, it also provides the important message about the need to get on with doing what makes you happy, rather than worrying what others might think. Who cares about keeping clean and meticulously manicured at great expense if it means that you can’t relax and enjoy the company of good friends after all. Plenty to talk about and reflect on what really matters in life for readers of all ages. Strongly recommended.’
Read the full review and many more here.
Heather Pindar has also written other titles for Maverick, including Froggy Day, Beware the Mighty Bitey and Wishker. All these titles and many more can be purchased here.