Desperate Dog Writes Again

40p. 978-0-54724-205-7.
PreS-Gr 1—Emma lives contentedly with her human George, a painter, and an orange cat-until she spies a woman holding his hand. She laments, "A cloud casts a shadow over my happy life." As in Letters from a Desperate Dog (Clarion, 2006), the pooch goes to the library seeking online help from "Ask Queenie." She follows the offered advice to derail the romance ("try wearing a good stinky perfume"), but neither Loretta (the alleged "kidnapper") nor her dog, Hankie, is deterred. Being on her worst behavior only lands Emma further in the doghouse. Back at the library, she discovers that Hankie has also been writing to Queenie about his problems with "an unfriendly, obnoxious, stuck-up mutt." A tumble in a Dumpster full of pizza brings the pair closer together, and when Emma realizes that Loretta is a chef she embraces the idea of her new blended family. In Christelow's comic-strip-style artwork, Emma's inner musings are revealed in thought bubbles. Readers will chuckle at the pup's flair for the melodramatic, but also relate to her feelings of jealousy and her need to belong.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Emma the dog's latest problem: owner George has a new girlfriend and she has a dog. Once again turning to advice columnist Queenie, Emma tries a few tricks to outwit the newcomers only to realize that this particular situation might actually be enjoyable. Bright comic-book-style art and a humorous text slyly craft a tale about adjusting to a blended family.
Emma’s misinterpretation of events and her attempts to oust her owner’s new girlfriend from their lives—by stealing cookies and e-mailing an advice column for dogs, among other things—are hilarious. Equally entertaining are comments from an also-exasperated cat, the canine columnist’s responses, and the girlfriend’s dog’s enthusiastic friendliness. Eileen Christelow’s energetic comic-book-style artwork effectively illustrates Emma’s unflagging approach to her chosen task. Children may identify with Emma’s feelings of jealousy and her concern that a new family member will take her place in George’s life. The story’s charming, satisfying ending will leave readers chuckling.

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