George The Hero Hound (Jeffrey Ebbeler)

Hello, friends! Our book today is George The Hero Hound by Jeffrey Ebbeler, the story of a hardworking hound dog and his new family.

George is indispensable on Farmer Fritz’s farm, helping the aging farmer with his finicky factor and to corral the wily cows. But when Fritz retires, he leaves George behind to be sold along with the farm and other animals. A city family named the Gladstones purchase George and company, and set about trying to learn the ropes of farm life (poorly). George, good hound that he is, does his part to help the family as they work out farming life, even tracking down toddler Olive when she wanders off. And after some growing pains, George finds new purpose looking after the farm and his new family.

Very uneven. The story threw me from the get-go by introducing the plot point that George was being sold as a part of the farm, the explanation given that Farmer Fritz is moving to a beachside bungalow that doesn’t allow dogs. Okaaay… but wouldn’t the farmer at least inform his faithful, hardworking friend’s new owners of George’s NAME? It’s a sideplot that doesn’t satisfyingly resolve itself, and sort of gives the impression that dog ownership is something you can foist off on others when you feel like it. Also, there is a distracting discrepancy in the character of Olive, who appears to be an older toddler (around 4) but is described as a baby and having not said her first words. It’s a really strange disconnect for anyone familiar with kids. This aside, the high point of the book is the art, which features some phenomenal background gags of the clever cattle getting into all sorts of silly adventures. But therein lies the problem: if your background art is more interesting than your main story, something isn’t working. The length was okay and JJ was mildly interested, but honesty? I would have preferred a book starring the cows. Not for us.

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