Genre: Children’s literature, fiction
Medium: Paperback, advanced reader’s copy
Synopsis: Alfred thinks he’s not as lovable as the other pets in his household. He thinks he’s got a funny face, and he’s got tiny legs, too. So what happens when there’s a new dog next door? And what happens when Alfred tells a little lie about himself to get this dog to like him?
Review: An adorable children’s book about a pug??? Sign me the heck up. Complete with cute illustrations and a lovable ending, this book is fantastic, and I wish that I bought it for my mom’s classroom when I had the chance.
Thanks to the other housepets, Alfred feels unlovable and quite ugly, too. When a new dog moves in next door, all he wants to do is impress him. So he tells a little lie. Then one day, the neighbor dog decides to meet Alfred, and Alfred gets a little surprise! Turns out he’s lovable after all.
Spoilers starting here! The dog ends up being another pug. Okay, end spoilers. I’ve seen some people critique this book for sending an “almost right” message, or a totally wrong message. I personally disagree, but to each their own, right? While I understand that loving yourself shouldn’t depend on finding somebody who looks just like you (which I believe is what these critiques are founded upon), I think that Yaccarino is actually discussing the importance of representation and finding like-minded people. I mean, it’s lonely as a kid to have all these hobbies and have nobody to share them with, or worse, to have people make fun of you for them! So, no, you don’t necessarily need somebody exactly like you, but somebody with a couple similarities helps!
I mean, when Alfred is worried about his funny-looking face, and he discovers that his new best friend has the same type of funny-looking face, that makes him feel good! And because his new best friends like the same kinds of things that he does, that makes him feel even better! So, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that while self-love with no boundaries is extremely important, so is recognizing the similarities between yourself and others you admire to help that self-love along the way. Yaccarino, in my opinion, does a great job of this.