Title: Guinea Dog
Author: Patrick Jennings
Publisher: Egmont USA
May Contain Spoilers
Rufus has been dreaming of getting a dog. His best friend has one. His worst friend has one. But his dad has a few objections: They whine. They gnaw. They bark. They scratch. They beg. They drool.
Rufus pays no attention when his mom offers her think-outside-the-box suggestion, because she can’t be serious. She can’t be.
She can be. And she actually comes home with a guinea pig. And if Rufus’s dad thinks dogs are a problem, he won’t know what hit him when he meets the Guinea Pig that Thinks She’s a Dog. She barks. She bites. She’ll eat your homework.
I connected with Rufus from the first page. All he wants is a dog. Surely that’s not to much to ask! He’s a good kid who tries to stay out of trouble, so why can’t he have his dog?
This is where the conflicts in Rufus’ life are explored. His dad now works at home, and he is having a problem adjusting to his work at home status. He is a neat freak, he doesn’t like to hear a lot of noise, and he doesn’t like strangers in his house. He is so anal, in fact, that poor Rufus feels uncomfortable in his own home. It’s his dad who is putting his foot down about the dog, because dogs are noisy, messing, and need attention. Rufus and his father constantly clash about the dog question, when his mother comes up with what she thinks is a good solution.
What’s his mother’s great idea? She brings home a guinea pig for Rufus. A guinea pig!? What self-respecting boy is going to want a guinea pig for a pet?! Rufus wants a dog! A D.O.G.! Why don’t the adults in his life understand that? A furry rodent is not going to take the place of a dog in his life!
This is a fun read about expectations, and how they sometimes have to change. When I was Rufus’ age, all I wanted was a dog (ok, I wanted a pony, too). I sympathized with him right away. When he receives Fido, the guinea pig, instead of a dog, he is beyond dismayed. A goofy little rat-like thing is so not a dog. When Fido turns the household upside down with her unexpected behavior, Rufus learns to look at things in a new light. His friends, the boy he doesn’t get along with, even the weird girl in class make him stop and think about things in a new way. Maybe the people he doesn’t like aren’t really all that bad. Maybe having a guinea pig instead of a dog isn’t all that bad. Rufus exhibits convincing character development, which in turn helps him to understand and get along with his dad.
Guinea Dog is a humorous MG read about finding the good in what at first seems like a bad situation.
Review copy provided by publisher