KIRKUS REVIEW

A writer chronicles the important pets in her life in this chapter book.

Each chapter of this work focuses on one of Smith-Davis’ pets. In the first one, the author recounts her bond with her childhood dog, Welsh terrier Thorie. Next, she recalls when she and her cockapoo, Whisky, who “assumes the position in the co-pilot seat,” went for a drive and made a friend. Next, Smith-Davis’ “mixed breed cockapoo-schnauzer,” Scrapper, chewed the Velcro strap off her husband Roger’s tennis shoe. But the man “can’t stay mad looking at” the dog’s “silly face and guilty look.” The author recounts when her cat Thomas carried a “huge 20-pound wooden basket laden with food, across the floor and up the stairs...crackers and popcorn trail behind like bread crumbs.” Next, she describes how her gentle pup Buddy, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, received medication for his heart problem. The next chapter concentrates on Smith-Davis’ white and black cat, Blake, who itched to “get outside to chase small creatures.” Lastly, the author introduces readers to rowdy terrier Rascal, who served as the clan’s “assistant pack leader” and was “constantly looking to move up” and usurp the humans. Short chapters at the end detail outdoor critters in Smith-Davis’ life, such as Rockie Raccoon, who “loves to come up to the back-porch door and beg for food,” and Mr. Squirrel, who narrowly escaped Rascal’s rivalry. Animal lovers will appreciate the sweet, simple stories here. The author is undoubtedly a devoted and practiced pet owner. Her adoration for her furry friends is palpable, and her ability to derive joy from their antics will be relatable to readers with pets of their own. In addition, the book emphasizes having respect and kindness for adopted animals, serving as superb reminders for readers. Also included are family photographs featuring the cats and dogs, such as a picture labeled “Rascal doing DownDog yoga.” Iliff’s drawings offer appealing, colorful portrayals of the animals. Simple but effective, the illustrations depict the tales’ scenes, including when the dogs chased the yard’s critters.

An endearing collection of pet stories for all ages.