Izzy in the Doghouse
Izzy in the Doghouse
“Once upon a time, there was a woman who wanted a baby so badly …” Mom began.
“That was you!” Isabel said.
“That’s right.” Mom yawned. “She waited and waited and no baby came into her life, so she decided one day to go to an agency. At the agency, she had to answer questions and fill out forms. Finally, after about a thousand questions and a thousand forms, the big rubber stamp came down.”
“Tell me again what it said.”
“Accepted!” Isabel shivered all over with happiness. “I love that word! And then what happened?”
“I had to wait again. And wait and wait and wait.”
“Like me tonight, waiting for you to come home.”
“Only longer. Two years.”
“Where was I?”
“You weren’t born yet. That’s what I was waiting for.”
Not born yet! She snuggled into Mom.
“Tell me about the phone call.”
Izzy and Zoe are devoted friends, sharing everything from lunches, cubbies and friendship bracelets. But sometimes Izzy’s exuberance and high spirits are over the top. This time she invented a silly game that got them both in trouble with the principal. Zoe is angry, and Izzy is sad when her best friend stops speaking to her. Izzy’s mother, a single parent who adopted Izzy, and Nanny Rosa realize that Izzy needs something else to love. At a visit to the pound, Izzy adopts Rollo, an adorable puppy, and earns both his love and Zoe’s!
In the first of a planned series of chapter books for emerging readers, readers meet Izzy who, on first impression, seems rather bratty, impulsive and not very kind as she tries to force feed a kindergarten boy pinecones! Later, readers see another side of Izzy and recognize that, at heart, she is loving, loyal and somewhat lonely with her businesswoman mother away a lot. As the story progresses, readers see Izzy lavishing tender care on her adopted dog just as she was cared for when adopted. This action represents a transition to increasing responsibility and maturity which extends to other areas of her life.
Added to this characterization is a fast-paced age-appropriate writing style and a plot that, for the most part, is involving although some sections towards the end are a little prolonged. Various poignant scenes reveal the emotion around Izzy’s adoption. There is also an awareness of an untypical family situation. Since Izzy’s mother is frequently away, Izzy has a live-in caregiver, Nanny Rosa.
Izzy in the Doghouse is generously illustrated with expressive, digitally produced cartoons that children will find whimsical and satisfying. This is a fast, fun read with some thought-provoking insights that children (especially girls) aged between six and nine will enjoy.
Aileen Wortley is a retired Children’s Librarian from Toronto, Ontario.