Title: Safari Pug
Author: Laura James
Genre: Middle Grade (Ages 8-12), Fun & Lighthearted Fantasy
Length: 105 pages
Summary from Goodreads
Meet the brilliant, the wonderful, the courageous … Safari Pug! The third book in a joyful illustrated series for fans of Claude and Squishy McFluff.
When Pug and Lady Miranda have a scary run-in with a lion one night (it might be hiding under the bed), Lady M decides Pug needs to face his fears and go on safari. Pug goes a bit wobbly when he finds out he’ll be coming nose to nose with Florence, the rare white lion cub, but he soon realises that lions may not be the most dangerous thing in the wildlife park ..
Safari Pug by Laura James is a cute and adorable story that both children and adults will enjoy. The pacing of the story is excellent and it moves along at a delightful clip. James does an excellent job at portraying a great deal of action, characterization, and information in just a few words. Her characterization of Pug and his thoughts is particularly adorable and endearing. Any child who has ever loved an animal will be able to identify with the sweet and affectionate bond that Lady Miranda shares with her darling Pug.
The plot of Safari Pug reminds me of Dr. Doolittle meets 101 Dalmatians. The antagonist reminded me very much of Disney’s Cruela de Ville. This book would be perfect for young readers to read independently or for adults to read with their children at bed time.
The writing of this book is top notch and the illustrations make the story positively leap off of the page. An observant reader will find many hidden surprises in the bright and eye catching images. As an adult, I was particularly impressed by the fact that the illustrator used people of all shapes, sizes, and skin colors to illustrate the story. These diverse secondary characters and crowd scenes made me very happy. As a small child, I rarely saw people who looked like me in the books that I enjoyed reading. Furthermore, the characters don’t feel like tokenism. They simply feel like they belong in this whimsical world because our real world is so diverse and varied.
I highly recommend Safari Pug for independent readers, families, and for anyone who enjoys a cute animal story! This book would make a great addition to a classroom or family library.
Note: I received a free hard copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.