The No-Dogs-Allowed Rule
Carl Pearce, illustrator
Albert Whitman and Co.
There are two main things about this title that piqued my interest (and, hence, my request for the advance reader copy from netgalley). 1) It’s an early chapter book with a boy as the protagonist (and doesn’t involve underwear or any other crudity). 2) It’s an early chapter book with an Indian American (not Native American) family at the center.
Now that I’ve read this short little book (just over 100 pages), I’m glad it’s going to grace the early chapter book scene! It’s “diverse” without being “diverse-as-the-main-point.” The main character is engaging and definitely relate-able to young boys (without being quite as over the top as someone like Joey Pigza). He’s sort of a cross between a Ramona Quimby and a Clementine from the girls’ lineup. His family is believable, and the information about Indian American families is a nice touch.
I wish he didn’t call his mom the “alpha dog” in their family. No doubt, it is true in many families, but it saddens me a touch. It’s so rare to find books for this age group that feature strong dads; don’t get me wrong, though–this dad is certainly not uninvolved. He’s just presented as a bit weaker than the mom in “law enforcement” on the home front.
I found the plot quite predictable, but there were some fun, unexpected diversions. This target audience, though, often enjoys a bit of predictability in their reading, especially if the journey there is pleasant and/or funny (or both, in this case).
The book is illustrated, but I was not able to view the final artwork. It’s not my “style,” but I think young kids will enjoy it. The impression I got was a comic-book style roughly similar to Japanese comic books.
All in all, an early chapter book to look for, especially if you have a boy and/or want to broaden your cultural horizons! In stores this month; hopefully it will soon be in local libraries, too.