- Max Explains Everything: Puppy Expert by Stacy McAnulty
McAnulty, Stacy Max Explains Everything: Puppy Expert; illus. by Deborah Hocking. Putnam, 2020 [32p] Trade ed. ISBN 9780399545023 $16.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9780399545030 $9.99 Reviewed from digital galleys R 4-7 yrs
A kid's entitled to more than one enthusiasm, and, as his bedroom decor attests, Max (of Max Explains Everything: Soccer Expert, BCCB 2/19) still loves soccer but is now building a relationship with his longed-for new puppy. Getting the dog was surprisingly easy: Mom took the bait upon seeing a pet event in the paper, and Max brought home his choice from the Pet Adoption Fair. Getting this pup acclimated and disciplined—or even named—is no cinch; in fact, as alert listeners will probably discern, it's pretty similar to bringing a child to heel. As Max describes necessary benchmarks, illustrator Hocking again supplies with visuals what Max leaves out. Take, for instance, Step Three, "Your puppy will need the perfect bed." True, as far as it goes, but a peek at Max at night shows him sprawled on the mattress, the puppy sprawled in his pillow, and the dog bed lying empty on the floor. Or Step Five, which we'll never know, because the puppy has torn it to shreds. By book's end, though, Max has himself a real pet to love, and after observing that dogs are "a lot of fun," "a lot of cute," "a lot of cuddle," and "a lot of love," he also has a name for his puppy—"Alotta." And who could ask for a better ending than that?