Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2013 K-Gr 2—Bella knows her family's rules but she doesn't like to follow them. She makes up her own, therefore misbehaving a lot. When a babysitter comes for the evening, she takes advantage of him and truly endangers herself and ruins property. When her parents come home, they have a conversation with her about her behavior and insist that she write a letter of apology to the sitter. When Grandma arrives a few days later with a surprise for Bella, a puppy, the child is overjoyed, and they soon become best friends. But soon Puppy starts behaving like the youngster that he is. He jumps on Bella and eats her cupcake. He leaves muddy footprints on her bedspread. He chews up her favorite teddy bear. Bella unfriends him. At this point, the family steps in and together they teach the dog how to behave. And in the process, Bella learns about the importance of following rules. The cheerful illustrations are done in colored pencils and watercolors and clearly convey the exuberant pup's actions. However, children might have trouble picking up on the lesson as it seems as though her grandmother is rewarding Bella's inappropriate behavior. The moment of clarity is too far away.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2013 Bella likes to push the envelope when it comes to family rules and after a particularly raucous evening with a sitter (“I never sleep, Sammy. Ever”), Bella’s parents lay down the law and call Granny, who brings Bella a puppy. While Bella and Puppy become fast friends, Bella soon learns what it’s like to be on the receiving end of rule-breaking, as Puppy knocks her down and steals her cupcake or plays tug-of-war with her beloved Teddy. Bella works with Puppy on some new rules (including “No chewing on Teddy”) and Puppy becomes a more reliable pal—although puppy and girl still like to break the rules once in a while. The puppy tactic is, to put it mildly, a surprising child-rearing technique, but it apparently works for Bella’s family. Guest’s succinct narrative relies on pleasing patterns of threes (Bella’s and Puppy’s actions are presented in threes, and their behavior is often described as “Too wild. Too rude. Too risky”) to cozily stitch the story together. Halpin’s watercolor and colored pencil art balances full-page scenes with spot art sequences, the tones in both slightly muted springy pastels that give the book a sunny freshness. Bubbly brunette Bella is an appropriately lively figure, but it’s plump-tummied Puppy, with his floppy brown ears and cute brown eyespot, who will captivate kids (they’ll especially enjoy the illustration of Puppy breaking the “No peeing indoors” rule). Read this as a precursor to a family rules-creating session, or share it as part of a puppy-themed storytime. JH - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.