Thursday, March 11, 2021

Book Review: The Green Poodles by Charlotte Baker (1956)

Allan Green, who lives at Pond Farm with his Aunt Lena and older siblings Ann and Charley, really wants a dog. Aunt Lena likes dogs, but she insists that they can't have one on the farm - at least until the newly-orphaned cousin Fern moves in along with her poodle, Juliet. Little do Allan and Aunt Lena realize how the arrival of this champion canine will change their lives, first by having puppies and then by bringing the entire Green clan into the world of dog shows, kennels, and obedience classes. 

I read this vintage middle grade novel aloud to my three oldest daughters, ages 7, 5, and 3, and they all liked it. There are lots of details that kids find interesting about dog training, dog breeds, dog shows, and dog haircuts, and there is a bit of a mystery woven throughout the story as well. I found the book pleasant enough, but a bit longer than necessary. The middle of the story really drags under the weight of a few too many doggie details and the payoff on the mystery plot is way too late in coming. By the time the truth comes out, the initial details of that thread of the story are all but forgotten! (I also predicted how things would turn out, but I don't think my kids saw it coming, so that's less of a criticism, and more a comment on how the book is really tailored to its intended audience, rather than to the expectations of adults.)

The Green Poodles is a good book for modeling family cooperation and for showing how sacrifice, perseverance, and teamwork can help even a group of young kids achieve their goals and find success in the world of business. Absolutely nothing that happens in this book is likely to happen in real life,  but the positive spirit that the Greens maintain in the face of adversity is a positive influence I don't mind passing on to my kids. This book is in our home library, and I'm sure we will revisit it when my little ones are old enough to enjoy it. 

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