Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas
New Frontier, 2018
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Tom is excited to go to stay with Aunt Roz because he knows she has a new friend called Ellie for him to play with. But he is a little dismayed when he finds Ellie is a pug, and even more so when he discovers Aunt Roz treats Ellie like a human. Perched between Tom and Roz wearing new pyjamas, Ellie listens to the bedtime story and the next day at the beach she wears a beautiful wide-brimmed straw hat.
Wherever Roz and Tom go, so does Ellie pampered and acting like the furbaby she is. Tom remains somewhat mystified but gradually he accepts Ellie as his friend, particularly as she makes friends wherever she goes – something that is difficult for Tom to do. So one afternoon, when he is supposed to be looking after her in the backyard but is more intent on playing soccer and Ellie slips out through the unlatched gate, he is as worried as Aunt Roz about her and together they hunt through all the familiar places. But neither he nor Aunt Roz expect to find her where she is…
There are lots of kids who, for lots of reasons, can’t have pets but who long for one and Ellie would be just the one they would choose. A dog that is willing to be dressed up, can skateboard and climb trees would be the answer to many child’s prayers, particularly those who are lonely. So this story will resonate with many and they will delight in Ellie’s adventures, especially the ending, and have lots to say about what they would do if they had an Ellie. Superbly illustrated with pictures that capture both Tom’s emotions and Ellie’s joy, this is a charming story about owning a pet and caring for it, possibly sparking discussions about whether treating pets as humans is the best thing for them. Where is the line between animal and human drawn? Are there any human things (like chocolate) that dogs should not have?
A fabulous story for introducing a unit of work for early childhood about caring for pets and meeting their needs more than our own. Children could create a photo wall of their pets explaining the things they like to do and share with them while learning about the no-nos.