‘Pawcasso’ by Remy Lai (Review)

Hayley’s always excited when the books we find in our letter box are addressed to her, not me, and a recent arrival had her even happier than usual.  You see, unlike her dad, she quite enjoys graphic novels, even spending days in her room drawing and writing stories of her own, so when she opened the package to find a bright, colourful comic book to check out, courtesy of the kind people over at Allen & Unwin, she immediately got down to work.  Of course, it helped that the book touched on another of her interests, with the star of the show being man’s best friend 😉

What’s the name of the book, and who is it by?
The book is called Pawcasso, and it’s written and illustrated by Remy Lai.

What’s it about?
It’s about a girl called Jo who sets out to find the mysterious dog that goes past her house every Saturday.  She meets a group of kids from the library, and she and the dog join the art club – and ‘Pawcasso’ becomes the model!  However, later there’s some trouble because one of Jo’s friends starts a petition to let dogs roam around the town, but then some people hate dogs and don’t agree!

Did you like it?  Why (not)?
Yes!  Because it was about dogs!!!

What was your favourite part?
My favourite part is probably when Jo and Pawcasso go to the art club every Saturday because she makes new friends there.

Was it difficult to read?
No – it’s a comic, so it was easy to understand, and there were a lot of pictures.

Would you recommend this book to other boys and girls?  Why (not)?
Yes, definitely if they like dogs!

Hayley, thank you very much 🙂

Well, it looks like Hayley was very happy with this one, and it’s easy to see why.  Pawcasso is a fun book, over 230 pages telling the story of a long, eventful summer.  What initially looks like being a dull time spent gazing out of the living room window turns into weeks of canine hijinks and family drama, with Jo perhaps wishing that the holidays had turned out a little less interesting!

As Hayley explained, the main character is Jo, a young girl stuck at home during the summer break from school.  Her dad is away on business in Indonesia, and with noisy twin brothers and an older, sarcastic teenage sister, she’s starting to feel a bit of cabin fever.  One day, as she’s sitting in her usual spot by the window, she sees a dog go by with a shopping basket, and when she bumps into the same dog later, she follows him, ending up at the local shopping precinct, and even an art class.  Apparently, this isn’t the first time Jo’s new furry friend has turned up, and when the other kids mistake her for the dog’s owner, she doesn’t set them straight.  After all, what harm can it do?

However, this is one white lie that spirals out of control, with Jo finding herself telling more and more fibs to cover up.  Then, just when she thinks things are getting out of control, she has even more to deal with.  A conflict splitting the town emerges between people who want leash-free dogs and those who are determined to round up strays – including a dog catcher.  Now not only does Jo have to keep her story straight, she also needs to make sure ‘her dog’ doesn’t end up at the pound…

It all makes for a lovely story of a poor girl in over her head.  As well as having to cope with family dramas (as it turns out, Jo’s not the only person missing a loved one), she finds herself caught in the middle of the town conflict, and as it plays out, we see that the Duchamps, as they’re called, aren’t all simply meanies.  They have their reasons for wanting to keep dogs on leads, and many of them are very relatable, making Jo wonder if the campaign to free the dogs is such a great idea.

Overall, Pawcasso is a fun story about a little girl looking for a friend, and a big, energetic dog dragging her into mischief.  Yes, while Jo’s the main character, her doggy pal very much steals the show, a messy bundle of fun who shows up unexpectedly and makes the girl’s life more complicated, but far more enjoyable.  Our little canine, Charlie, is very much a house dog, so I’d better keep an eye on him for a while.  You see, after reading this, Hayley’s got ideas about what to do during the holidays, and I’m not sure they’re all that sensible…

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