Multiple award-winning author Meg Rosoff has written an adorable story for middle graders about a family in trouble rescued by a very smart dog named McTavish.
The Peachey family goes into crisis mode when Ma Peachey decides to stop being a mother, declaring:
“I give up. No more cooking and cleaning and finding lost keys. No more keeping track of your appointments and nagging you to clean up your rooms. No more boring, thankless jobs. I quit. . . . I’m tired of having to shout at everyone to wake up, go to bed, put away the laundry, say please, say thank you, clear the dishes, stop fighting. . . . So yes, you could say I’ve resigned. For now anyway. I am taking time out to pursue peace and quiet. From now on, the only person I am in charge of is me.”
And Ma Peachey thereafter did yoga all day.
The house became a mess and the family ate frozen dinners or take-out meals. They had no clean clothes and wouldn’t have been able to find them if they did:
“There was a great deal more squabbling and a great deal more squalor.”
Betty, not yet 9, announced she was feeling “lost, lonesome, and lacking in love.” She proposed they get a dog. They went to the shelter, and Betty picked out McTavish.
McTavish was a “psychological mastermind.” He could see the Peachey family was in trouble, and McTavish mused about what to do:
“He knew that humans were an inferior race, but their foolishness never ceased to amaze him. Why? he thought. Why can’t they think for themselves?”
McTavish would have to do the thinking for them. He came up with three plans to get the Peacheys back on track, and of course, his plans worked brilliantly. He concluded:
“As with most humans, all they’d needed was training, combined with common sense and discipline. Despite their early lack of promise, McTavish felt certain that the Peacheys would turn out fine.”
The book includes intermittent illustrations by Grace Easton.
Evaluation: This is a delightful story, and as a welcome side feature, may get children to think about the nature of stereotypical family and gender roles, as well as give them an appreciation for all that is done for them by their parents.
Published in the U.S. by Candlewick Press, 2019