A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Marley is trying to track down his best friend, whom he misses.
Positive Role Models
The adults pursuing Marley come off as mean; kids lie to their teacher; Marley is lightly reprimanded but otherwise his antics are laughed off.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know the loyal Marley disobeys the rules because he wants to find his friend. When a teacher warns that a “wild animal” is on the loose in the school and asks if anyone has seen him, the students lie and disguise Marley. Adults chasing after Marley are surprisingly impatient and angry, though the ending is lighthearted.
Is It Any Good?
Just like the kids in the book, most young readers will laugh at Marley’s misadventures and delight in his surprising presence in the school. Marley bounds from page to page, tongue hanging out, eagerly searching for his playmate. But the story is played for slapstick humor and nothing more: For all the “bad dog!” scolding you get the sense that Marley just might repeat the performance day after day.
The portrayal of adults is disappointing for this age group. Grown-ups overreact to the dog’s mischief and look downright mean as they try to catch Marley. But in the end, they quickly dismiss Marley’s misbehavior and cheer him. The inconsistency sends a confusing message.
Energetic and lively, but many of the adults look disconcertingly angry.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.