Captain Pug (The Adventures of Pug)
By Laura James, Illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (March 14, 2017)
Available in: paperback, hardcover, Kindle, Nook
At the time of this review, there were three books in The Adventures of Pug series.
Captain Pug is a rollicking, drooling cruise for crumbs and other adventures. While at first glance it seems this is a book especially good for girls, by the end it shows itself quite a seaworthy vessel for boys, as well.
The text is short and easy, featuring playful romps through madcap scenes mostly from the point of view of our hero, the pug. Consider this a beginning chapter book for those kids just transitioning into independent reading. Also consider this a focused tutorial on the priorities of a pug—food driven at all times.
And yet, this is not a simple story of a dog yearning for treats. The plot is rich with original action and perfectly timed humor that make this more than a silly caper. A keen use of stylized typeface to highlight important words also adds depth.
The contemporary tale is sweetly evocative of historic storybook fiction with the use of a regal miss, who at first seems bossy and peevish but proves herself a real plucky upstart. The appearance of royalty is not the only nod to books gone by—the illustrations echo two classic picture books, Madeleine and Eloise. The bouncy, free drawings propel the eye across the page with the same momentum crafted into the prose. And like Eloise, the book uses restrained color, opting for a three-color process that is gay and bright without being overly designed. The whole package comes together in a marvelous frolic.
Kudos as well to illustrator Ceulemans, for capturing the perfect, romanticized depiction of the classic pug-sit pose.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….