Bad Kitty: Puppy's Big Day
By Darienne Stewart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Puppy stars in funny, sweet book about animal welfare.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Explanations of how dogs use their sense of smell to get to know other dogs and why they lick faces. Sketches basic responsibilities of dog owners (keeping the dog on a leash, walks and exercise, cleaning up after the dog) and explains the plight of animals in shelters. Good vocabulary words include "perambulators," "anal gland," and "elimination" as a polite term for necessary bodily functions. Two appendices give information on the dog breeds shown in the story and on adopting dogs, with links to the Humane Society and ASPCA.
Powerful information about caring for pets and what can happen to animals that are neglected. Kitty, Puppy, and Uncle Murray all demonstrate the life-changing impact of compassionate acts. Kitty's foul mood is eventually explained and charmingly resolved, making a good point about understanding and friendship.
Positive Role Models
Uncle Murray is responsible and kind. He accepts blame for not being prepared to take Puppy out and swiftly corrects the situation, later coming to the aid of the shelter dogs. Puppy and Kitty start out scrapping, but Puppy does a good deed that proves the two are close friends after all.
Violence & Scariness
Out-of-control dogs chase a character, taking a bite out of his pants and sending him into a tree. A dog says she ran away because she was treated badly by her owners. The story alludes to the fate of animals that aren't adopted from shelters but doesn't explicitly say that they're put down.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nick Bruel's Puppy's Big Day -- part of the popular Bad Kitty series -- gets into the responsibilities of pet ownership and touches on the troubling issues of animal cruelty and euthanasia of unwanted animals. The overall tone is heartwarming, underscoring the importance of responsible pet ownership and promoting kindness toward animals. Even prickly Kitty warms up to thoughtful consideration. When a police officer shouts repeatedly at Uncle Murray for several infractions, Uncle Murray is respectful and deferential -- and the officer reappears in a much friendlier fashion late in the story. There are a few mildly coarse but funny bits, primarily having to do with dogs sniffing each other's "butts" and a dog relieving himself in the park.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
Kitty is in a bad mood -- a very bad mood. She causes such a ruckus that Uncle Murray abruptly takes Puppy out of the house until Kitty can calm down. Unprepared to be out with a dog, he gets off to a rough start: An officer scolds him for walking Puppy without a leash, failing to clean up after him, taking him into the wrong area of the park, and not having a license. Uncle Murray fixes everything, but an encounter with another dog leads to mayhem: Uncle Murray hides in a tree and the dogs break loose. They wind up in a shelter with other lost and abandoned dogs. All hope seems lost -- until Uncle Murray arrives to help out these dogs in need.
Is It Any Good?
PUPPY'S BIG DAY -- as with the other Bad Kitty chapter books -- serves up smart information with a mix of mayhem and giggles. This time the cantankerous Kitty stays home, and Puppy takes center stage with Uncle Murray, whose sloppy, careless appearance belies a sensitive, generous soul. Nick Bruel, who has such fun with drawing Kitty, has his fun here with Petunia, a meaty-faced bulldog with romantic dreams and bows on her ears.
Kitty drops in to share "horrible but true facts about dogs" in two-page, text-heavy informational spreads that explain some fascinating (if a little gross) science without being dull.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how to be a responsible pet owner. If you have a pet, discuss ways you're taking good care of your pet and ways you could do better.
What do you think about a book that mixes a funny story with fun facts? What did you learn about dogs that you didn't know before?
Consider visiting a local shelter, volunteering there, or donating items for animals being cared for there.
- Author: Nick Bruel
- Genre: Animals
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
- Publication date: January 6, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 7 - 10
- Number of pages: 160
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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