Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
Candlewick Press, 2009
$16.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages
A pampered poodle wants nothing more than to step in puddles, but every time she tries to tell her glamorous owner that she wants to act like a mutt, her owner doesn't understand her and scoots her off to specialists who can't figure out what's wrong.
In this lovely new book by the creator of Charlie and Lola, a puffed-up poodle named Trixie Twinkle Toes lives in the lap of luxury with the divinely dressed Mademoiselle Verity Brulee, who adores her, but spends so much time preening, posing and prancing her that she doesn't realize Trixie misses being a real dog.
Brulee wants everything to be "just-so." Trixie's nails are manicured, her dog pillows are plumped and there's even a butler to bring her bowls of clear puddles to step in. But Trixie doesn't feel so divine and longs to howl at the moon, scamper about in the park and chase something in her path, so she begins to sigh and howl her unhappiness.
Alarmed by her plaintive sounds, Brulee rushes Trixie to a vet but the vet doesn't know what's troubling her, so Trixie takes matters into her own hands and tries to be the dog she wants to be.
At the poodle parlor, Trixie sees an article on how to change her dog image and decides to scruff herself up. But by the time she's done chasing a cat, catching fleas and chewing a newspaper, Trixie decides being a mutt isn't all that it's cut out to be. Trixie wants to be dangerous and daring like the dogs she sees in a TV commercial, so she lets loose and swings from the chandelier, only to have Brulee run her to a pooch psychiatrist. It isn't until the two step out of the psychiatrist's office into a rain storm that Trixie is able to communicate what she really needs.
Child's book charms on so many levels -- from the type that waves and twirls around the page to the inky illustrations of cat-eyed characters to the merry flow of the words. As you read aloud, your lips take particular enjoyment in shaping every sound. And if that weren't enough, when you flip to the the back cover, you learn where the idea for the book must have come from and are charmed all the more. There, you discover the origin of the word poodle, a German word meaning "splashing dog," and realize that any poodle that's ever wanted to let down their pompoms has found a champion in Child.