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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Dumpster Dog, written by Colas Gutman and illustrated by Marc Boutavant. Translated from French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick and Allison M. Charette.Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2019. $13.50 ages 8 and up

" ... beneath the mangy coat of this
unfortunate creature, there lives a
sweet and affectionate being who
sees himself as something of a

Sadly, his appearance - that of an
old shredded carpet - drives even
the most courageous children away.

Dumpster Dog shares his garbage
can ... "

This is the first in a series of early years illustrated chapter books, originally published in France.

Dumpster Dog is homeless. He is not terribly smart, but he is very kind. It is his dumpster-mate, Flat Cat, who helps him understand what an 'owner' is. She encourages him to take a chance in the world away from their dumpster. It sets Dumpster Dog off on a mission to find that person, 'who will love him and give him treats.' His appearance does little to encourage success. He smells bad, looks like a well-used carpet and has a few other issues. But, he is determined and adventurous.

Knowing little about the world, he is constantly confused by what is happening around him.

"After mistaking a jump rope for a leash
and following two pigeons that he guesses
might be owners, Dumpster Dog sees
someone who seems just right."

Not so ... the person is deceitful, plying Dumpster Dog with food, and then offering him to the Hot Dog shop to be made into hot dogs. Not a chance. The owner is not interested. How about a watch dog? He's ugly enough to be scary. It works for a while. One day a child comes along, offering treats.  Who wouldn't trust a child? Her treats quickly put him to sleep, leaving an opening for a group of burglars to break in and steal from his owner. The adventures have barely begun.

The nefarious doings of the burglars land the kidnapped girl, Dumpster and other animals in big trouble. Soon, he and the girl are making an escape plan. Will they get away? If they do, will the child find her parents again? What can Dumpster Dog do to help and how can he help Flat Cat, the only real family he knows?

Dumpster Dog's naivete will entertain readers and make them smile. His antics are giggle-worthy, and his demeanor makes him more lovable with every page turn. The artwork, done in full-color,  add a much-appreciated dimension to the action and the friendships.

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