Gilles Gauthier. Illustrated by Pierre-Andre Derome.
Grades 2 - 5 / Ages 7 - 10.
Nothing seems to interest me, ever since Mooch died. Nothing at all. School is a disaster. I wasn't that fond of school to begin with. Now I think it stinks. I don't want to have anything to do with anyone. I don't care if I flunk! I wish I could just give up the whole thing. And I wish Gary would just go away, him and his stupid little dog. DUMPLING! Is that name dorky enough for you? And the worst of it is, the name fits the dog perfectly. Gary's dad probably got him really cheap. I know that when you've just come out of prison you don't have a lot of money, but still, I think he might have tried a little harder. Ever since Mooch died, Gary is always asking me to go play at his house. It's no use. I don't feel like playing. And anyway, I can't stand his stupid Dumpling! I would rather think about Mooch.
Gilles Gauthier has written a series of first novels starring Carl and his dog Mooch. His book Mooch and Me previously won Best Children's Book of the Year in Quebec. Mooch Forever was originally published in French in 1990 as Ma Babouche pour toujours.
"Carl, the vet explained it all to you. Mooch's heart gave out."
"Mooch's heart was better that any vet's heart! I'll never believe her heart gave out. She died because that ignorant vet poisoned her with his horrible medicine."
When his anger cools, Carl becomes apathetic, rejecting the overtures of his Mom (whom he usually calls Judy) and his friend Gary. He knows they're concerned, but he's too self-absorbed to try alleviating their fears:
Mom doesn't know what to do with me. I'm always sad and I've lost my appetite. I know that Mom is unhappy. Every so often she tries to talk to me, but I won't listen. I already know what she's going to say. Anyway, she can't give me the one and only thing I want -- my dog.
Dumpling is quite the fellow! He's a real clown! First of all, Sir Dumpling will drink only milk. Judy and I found that out pretty quick...When it comes to food, he's no champion either. He has trouble eating the dry dog food we bought him. He practically needs a nutcracker before he can chew it.
(Readers may also wonder how they figured out the dog would only drink milk, and why they went out and bought dog food for Dumpling since he's just there on a one-day trial basis. Didn't they have leftover kibble from Mooch? Why didn't Gary leave food and a set of instructions for them? And don't changes in diet give dogs the runs?)
Dogs are very faithful. Much more than Gary thinks. A dog isn't a toy that can belong to you one day and to someone else the next. Even if you have a good reason. Dumpling is already very attached to Gary . . . He belongs with Gary, the greatest friend I've ever had. Except for Mooch, of course.
Gary is grateful for the return of his pup. Carl says he would be willing to help train the dog and Gary [unbelievably] says "he would love to have the full benefit of my experience. He wants me to teach Dumpling everything I can." While trying to teach Dumpling a trick, the boys feed him two entire boxes of chocolate-chip cookies. Hmmm . . .
A. Edwardsson is in charge of the Children's Department at a branch of the Winnipeg Public Library. She has a Bachelor of Education degree and a Child Care Worker III certification, and is a member of the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Authors' Association.
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