Good Dog, McTavish
Good Dog, McTavish
Publisher's Hardcover13.59
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Series: The McTavish Stories Vol. 1   
Annotation: When her father and siblings descend into chaos when their overworked mother decides to take up yoga to find inner peace, a sensible youngster bonds with a rescue-minded dog who adopts the family and begins teaching everyone tricks for good behavior.
Genre: [Animal fiction]
Catalog Number: #176184
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Easton, Grace,
Pages: 104 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-536-20058-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-536-20058-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018961319
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Weeks after Ma Peachey resigns from her position (household organizer, cook, cleaner, laundress, and enforcer of manners), ostensibly to devote more time to yoga, her husband and three children are living in chaos and turning angry, sullen, and forlorn. Led by the younger sister, eight-year-old Betty, they go to an animal shelter to adopt a mutt named McTavish. Although the dog knows that adopting a rescue family is chancy and that working to improve its dysfunctional traits can be very difficult, he can't resist the Peacheys, "with their sad little faces." Carrying out a series of secret plans, McTavish trains them to sort clothes, cook meals, and so on, while reflecting that "humans make excellent pets." Rosoff plays around with our usual people-centered view of events in this short, amusing book, as she switches back and forth between human and canine perspectives. Twelve distinctive full-page pictures illustrate the story. From the appealing premise to the deftly drawn characters and satisfying conclusion, this early chapter book delivers a very readable story laced with dry humor.
Kirkus Reviews
A perceptive dog rescues a family in crisis with sheer cleverness and humor."McTavish's decision to adopt the Peachey family was not the most sensible decision of his life." So begins the adventure of a sandy-colored terrier who arrives unbidden, like Mary Poppins, in this domestic satire. Having "decided to give up being a mother," Ma Peachey is boycotting her household responsibilities, leaving Pa Peachey cranky, Ava (14) gloomy, and Ollie (12) petulant. Only 8-year-old Betty is wise enough to see their dire straits. Who will do the cooking and the cleaning and get everyone to school on time? McTavish sees the youngest one's sensible nature and works with her, without magic or fantasy, to bring the family back from the brink even as Ma Peachey indulges her yoga habit while the household falls to pieces. If the essential ridiculousness can be overlooked, this is a sweetly humorous story about training a family to behave. Readers will enjoy seeing the role reversal of the dog adopting a family, and they might gain some psychological awareness of others. Easton's grayscale illustrations in her debut offer a gentle counterpoint, depicting the round-shouldered members of the Peachey family with light skin and straight, dark hair.This book is a good selection for those ready for the next step beyond early readers and will undoubtedly create more children wanting a great dog to join the family. (Fantasy. 7-10)
Publishers Weekly
Fetching from start to finish, this novel by Printz Award winner Rosoff (How I Live Now) introduces the Peacheys, a family in disarray, and McTavish, the clever canine who comes to their rescue. There is -a great deal more squabbling and a great deal more squalor- in the household after Ma Peachey abdicates household responsibilities to immerse herself in yoga. Betty, the youngest and wisest of three siblings, proclaims she is -feeling lost, lonesome, and lacking in love,- and suggests that they adopt a dog. Pa Peachey begrudgingly drives his kids to an animal shelter--Just to browse--but relents when Betty and McTavish irrevocably bond. The inclusion of the take-charge dog-s voice augments the narrative-s hilarity (he deems humans -puzzlingly dim-). The fact that responsibility for running the household falls entirely on the mother might feel like a frustrating throwback, but many readers may recognize their own families in the dynamics here. McTavish-s sorting-out of the Peacheys conveniently serves his own interests (he uses clothes strewn on the floor to make his bed cozier and feigns lack of appetite to get the kids to cook healthy meals for all)-while teaching his new family much-needed lessons with droll flair. Ages 7-10. (Apr.)

School Library Journal
Gr 2-5 This quirky and humorous early chapter book tells the story of how an adopted mutt, McTavish, sets a dysfunctional family on a path to success after Mom relinquishes her role as the family's sole caretaker. Once Mrs. Peachey decides she's had enough, things fall apart quicklynobody else cleans, cooks, or keeps the family on schedule. This is a tough subject that could hit close to home for many readers, but the story does not dwell on the melancholy premise of a parent leaving home. Instead, it uses exaggerated caricaturesthe know-it-all teen, the bumbling, distant fatherand overly formal language to create humor. Betty, the youngest and most sensible member of the family, decides that adopting a dog will help her to feel less "lost, lonesome, and lacking in love." The rest of the Peacheys, including Pa Peachey, tend to do what they are told (no matter who tells them) and adopt McTavish, who soon has the family doing laundry and cooking healthy food once again. Perhaps this solution oversimplifies the novel's main problemMom feeling unappreciatedbut it makes for a feel-good ending. The book's humor is sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek, and Rosoff shows off her writing chops, but sophisticated vocabulary such as "sociopath," "foray," and "acquisition" might make the story a hard sell for younger, less experienced readers. However, the slimness of the volume and Easton's illustrations, which bring Melissa Sweet's work to mind, may turn away older readers who might better appreciate the prose. Alone on the shelves, this book may struggle to find the right reader, so it is recommended for libraries where early chapter books, such as Kate DiCamillo's "Mercy Watson," circulate well. VERDICT A humorous tale about how a dog can bring a family together using love and a little common sense. Shannon O'Connor, Unami Middle School, Chalfont, PA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (4/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (5/1/19)
Word Count: 10,401
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 502145 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q77230
Lexile: 850L
Guided Reading Level: S
Fountas & Pinnell: S

A dog with a plan adopts a chaotic family in a wry comedy extolling the virtues of common sense.

When Ma Peachey takes up yoga, the rest of the family finds themselves abandoned to chaos: no one cooks dinner, no one picks up the dirty laundry, the children are always late for school, and there is a good deal of squabbling and squalor. Ma may be off finding inner peace, but irritable Pa Peachey, glum Ava, and wannabe girl-charmer Ollie are falling apart. Only Betty, the sensible youngest child, is wise enough to see that this family is in need of rescue. Enter McTavish, a rescue dog who, true to his mission, is ready to teach this family some new tricks. Getting the Peacheys to behave will take work, but if anyone can do it, McTavish can. After all, he’s a very good dog — maybe even a psychological mastermind!

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