Title: Welcome to the Bed & Biscuit
Author: Joan Carris
Illustrations: Noah Z Jones
May Contain Spoilers
Grampa’s menagerie of pets are rubbed the wrong way when a needy little critter arrives in this lighthearted chapter book.
Grampa Bender wouldn’t be able to run the Bed and Biscuit animal boardinghouse without the help of Ernest the pig, Gabby the mynah bird, and Milly the cat. In fact, the three animals have always thought of themselves as Grampa’s family — and they assumed he felt the same way. But when Grampa comes home with a mysterious bundle and stops paying attention to his loyal companions, they start to question his affections. Engaging illustrations by Noah Z. Jones, capturing every endearing trait of this oddball family, complement Joan Carris’s humorous, heartwarming book for middle-grade readers.
Oh, this was so cute!! One look at the cover, and I had to bring this home from the library. This is another book that skews much younger than I normally enjoy, but this captivated me. It has talking animals, a favorite plot device of mine, and lots of adorable, deceptively simple illustrations throughout the book. I thought this was a lot of fun.
Ernest is a Vietnamese pig, and he helps Grampa, a vet, run a boardinghouse for critters. Gabby the mynah bird and Milly the cat make up the rest Ernest’s family, and he’s as happy as…well, a pig in slop. Life is peaceful, everyone is happy, and there’s always plenty to do at the Bed & Biscuit.
Everything changes after a devastating fire at the neighbor’s. Suddenly, Grampa is distracted and fussing over a bundle that he keeps in a basket in his room. Milly gets jealous, because she’s used to being the baby in the family, and her unhappiness is causing all kinds of grief for Ernest. When Milly runs away, he knows he has to find her and smooth out everyone’s ruffled feathers.
I love Ernest! He is so cute! This is one hardworking and dedicated pig! He’s also got a ton of common sense and is incredibly kind-hearted. He will do anything to fix his broken family, even go out to the pasture and talk to the llamas. That shows how determined he is, because everyone knows that llamas spit! Plus, they are just plain difficult to deal with.
Welcome to the Bed & Biscuit was fun to read, and it had a great message, too. Families are important, and working out misunderstandings is worth the effort. Even though Milly causes Ernest a lot of worry and even more work, he never once judged her; he just wanted her to come home safely. Offering a little suspense and a feel good ending, this will be a winner with animal lovers. I was tickled to learn that there is a sequel, and I promptly added it to my hold list at the library. If you are looking for a light read that will bring a smile to your face, you don’t have to look any further.
Review copy obtained from the library