Book Review: Plumdog, Emma Chichester Clark (2015)

September 25th, 2015 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

It’s a Dog’s Life

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

I know she means well but if I wasn’t on a lead – I would pretend I didn’t know her.

Emma Chichester Clark is an illustrator, as well as the author of the Blue Kangaroo children’s series. She resides in London, along with her husband Rupert, and Plum, their whoosell (whippet + Jack Russell terrier + poodle) furkid. This is not Plum’s first brush with fame; she has been sharing her wry observations and flaunting her social engagements on the Plumdog blog since 2012. With a little help from Clark, of course: Plum may run the show, but she relies on her mom the artist to supply the illustrations. There’s only so much you can do sans opposable thumbs, dontchaknow.

If Plumdog is any indication, I can almost guarantee that this adorable little dog is having more fun than you. Plumdog chronicles one year in the life of Plum: trips to Paris and Scotland; romps in the river with her canine friends Rocket, Esther, and Liffey; birthday parties and Christmas celebrations; errands to her mom’s publisher; working the room at book signings; brunches and tea parties; visits to the pet store and spa; and lots and lots of walks. There’s also some sad stuff, too, like the death of Plum’s human grandmother, and a cautionary tale of a dog who got into the holiday chocolate and died. And, oh yeah, the indignities of being peed on by a rival dog, and having the vet stick things up your bum. (*shudder*)

As a guardian of five rescue dogs (previously seven), there’s so much I can relate to in Plumdog; doubly so since six out of seven of my canines are also terriers (rat/fox/Jack Russell) – though none look anything like little Plum. (In fact, I didn’t even realize she was part JRT until I got to the back cover!) Whether it’s chasing/being chased by waves, rolling in poop, or trying to scam treats, dog lovers are sure to see some of their own friends in Plum.

null

(Click on the image to embiggen.)
——————————

Clark’s illustrations are perfectly suited to the subject matter – cute and whimsical – and in the margins of each page you’ll find the same dog-n-flowers pattern featured on the cover…only blown up a little, for more of a rough sketch vibe. The overall feeling is that of a scrapbook. Really it just makes me wish I was more artistically inclined; if I could draw, this is exactly the sort of thing I’d make, a crafty little keepsake to remember my much-loved dog friends.

But. I do agree with others who have said that it sometimes feels like too much of a good thing; that perhaps Clark’s artwork – and Plum’s sass – would be better enjoyed in small pieces, such as on greeting cards. I’d like to add a semi-regular web comic and/or smaller gift book to the list. Of course, Plumdog did start out as a blog; and, if the book was pared down to a slimmer volume, keeping only the best bits, I’d probably be complaining that I want more! More! MORE! (That’s the way it goes, I guess: leave them wanting more, and they will scream for more.)

In any case, Clark doesn’t even try to hit every day of the year; each day takes up one page, occasionally two, and the book only runs 160 pages, so you do the math. I guess if you’re really concerned about overload, you could read a day at a time, but I don’t have near enough patience for that!

All in all, it’s a sweet gift for dog people, especially those who have been owned by more petite canines. (Don’t call Plum a toy dog, you will only piss her off, mkay?)

3.5 stars.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , ,

Leave a Reply