cover image The New Pup on the Block

The New Pup on the Block

Susan Saunders. Avon Books, $3.99 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-06-440884-4

Easy to envision as an animated cartoon, the peppy debut volume in Saunders's All-American Puppies series introduces a cast of canine characters with distinct personalities. At the center of the tale is Jake, a three-month-old mutt whom a man adopts from an animal shelter to keep his aging sheepdog company. But curious Jake exits through the doggy door to explore the world outside and meets a trio of neighborhood pups. He and his new pals then befriend a bedraggled pooch named Rosie, whom they find in a box tossed out of a passing car. When Rosie resolutely sets out to return to her home in the city, the others are afraid she won't make it alone and decide to follow her scent and track her down. Delivered in brief bites, the puppies' easy-to-follow dialogue propels the narrative, recommending this for reluctant readers as well as young dog devotees who appreciate canine adventures with a fanciful flair. Cole's lively drawings reveal the animals' personalities without humanizing them. Those looking for a more down-to-earth, warm and fuzzy canine caper may be better entertained by A Puppy of My Own (reviewed above). Ages 7-10. (Mar.)