Look at that cover. Look at that little face. Tell me you’re not already falling a little bit in love.
Just tell me you’re not.
Sometimes, though, when the art is this damn adorable, the rest of the book just has a hard time keeping up with it, so I was attempting to not be too hopeful on my first read-through.
But as it turned out, I needn’t have worried have at all, because that is not at all the case here. The art and the story itself are on equal footing, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed.
In case you couldn’t tell, our little hero is Gaston, who “works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch.” Much like his poodle sisters, he has learned to sip — never slobber! He has learned to yip — never yap! And he has learned to walk with grace — never race!
He may look different from his mother and his sisters, it’s true, but he fits with them. He feels as though he belongs.
But when a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park reveals there’s been a terrible mistake, Gaston doesn’t know where he fits in anymore. Can Gaston follow his nose — and his heart — to find where he belongs?
The story and art are simple and incredibly appealing in and of themselves, but the book’s real strength lies in the fact that it’s a sneaky little bugger. It imparts an impressive share of lessons — family is more than blood, “one sees much more clearly with the heart than with the eye,” one should never limit themselves to what society says the “should” be, etc — but it is never once heavy-handed. You’re not told the lessons so much as you are made to feel them, to have them take up residence in your gut rather than merely flit through your brain.
And that’s the way it should be.
And did I mention it’s adorable?