One sunny Thursday morning, I was doing rounds with Dr Jeanie. I was surprised when she drove the Pet Vet van to Jeandabah instead of straight to a farm.
I say up tall so I could see through the van window. We’d stopped in an ordinary street. Maybe someone had a pony or a house cow behind a house? I sniffed at the gap in the window.
Dr Jeanie looked at her notes.
‘Number seven,’ she said. ‘This is the place.’ She got out of the van with her bag, and hesitated. ‘I don’t know if you should come, Trump.’
I whined to let Dr Jeanie know I certainly should come. I am her A.L.O. and I can’t do my job if I stay in the van. Besides, I was lonely.
Trump is an A.L.O.: an Animal Liaison Officer, and he helps Dr Jeanie in her veterinary work. Together they are an unbeatable team in the Pet Vet series. The Pup’s Tale is Book 6. In this adventure, a Labrador Retriever has delivered a very large litter of puppies. 15! And that’s one too many even for devoted mother, Pipwen. A little chocolate-coloured puppy is at risk of abandonment. Trump and Dr Jeanie to the rescue! Black and white illustrations are scattered throughout and potentially challenging words or concepts are in bold text with an explanatory information box nearby.
The Pup’s Tale is an engaging story for children new to independent reading. The print is largish, with interspersed illustrations and short chapters. There’s an adventure, with drama and solution, but there’s also factual information about how a vet practice works and about different animals. Readers can learn about different breeds of dog and some of the work involved in having pets or show animals. The main characters are introduced at the beginning, with a personal introduction from the narrator, Trump. The animals can communicate with each other, but stay in ‘character’ of their breed. Recommended for newly independent readers and anyone wanting to know a bit more about whelping, dog breeds and their behaviour.
The Pup’s Tale (Pet Vet), Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic Press 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond