Hoping to get back to regular posts soon, I can at least talk about a wonderful middle-grade book that everyone would enjoy.
“Ruff-Housed”, the brilliant successor to Susan J. Kroupa’s “Bed-Bugged”, “Out-Sniffed”, “Dognabbed”, and “Bad-Mouthed”, is simply wonderful! Doodle’s humorous musings about his human companions again provide optimal comic relief to the serious challenges the humans are confronted with: a con-man neighbor with a vicious dog, a conflicted teenaged dognapper, dog-killing fanatics who claim to remove pets from their enslaved existence, lonely rich kids who lose their nannies, the only adults who have time for them.
In book five of the series Doodle, a labradoodle specifically trained to hunt for bedbugs, helps Molly and her friends when they are confronted with animal fanatics, criminal activity, unhappy children, and clueless though well-meaning adults. Molly, friends, and Doodle recognize troubling situations, try to inform the clueless adults, and then take things into their own hands. Unexpected problems arise. Eventually the clueless adults show that they can help.
Josh values Doodle as his employee without whom he would have no bedbug detection service. Molly, Josh’s daughter, sees Doodle as a family member and confidant. Doodle is intensely loyal to his human family, Josh and Molly, even though humans generally puzzle him with their imprecise use of language and illogical actions. Doodle has a bemused tolerance of human weaknesses and appreciates Molly’s pampering. As a matter of pride, he always uses his trained nose to sniff out all bedbugs Josh asks him to look for.
As with the previous four Doodle volumes, this is a lovely book, funny due to Doodle’s reflections on human actions ,but with a serious look at current problems. Most importantly, it is an optimistic book, showing its middle-grade readers that problems can be solved, that clueless adults will listen and help. Family situations may not be perfect, but good people make a difference. The happy ending is believable and satisfying.
Dog owners will appreciate the accuracy of the canine behavior described. Non-dog owners will find themselves wondering if they don’t perhaps need a Doodle in their homes and in their lives.
Buy this book for yourself, no matter what age group you belong to, and then buy some more as presents for people who could benefit from this enjoyable book.