Sit. Stay. Read. Plumdog is Plum Fun
In 2012, Emma Chichester Clark began chronicling the life of her dog in the Plumdog Blog, an illustrated, often cheeky diary in the voice of Plum, her black “…whoosell, a whippet mixed with Jack Russell and poodle.” Plumdog, Clark’s 2015 book, captures all the fun of the blog and is a delight for dog lovers with its engaging illustrations and text that describes a year in the life of London’s busiest, funniest and most world-wise dog.
I laughed beginning with Plum’s New Year’s resolutions on page one. Number 4, “Not to unstuff my new toys immediately,” shows a drawing of Plum looking at some eviscerated playthings. Did she fail on the first day of her resolution or is she just remembering her past bad behavior? Either way, the ruined toys should get a chuckle of recognition from dog owners.
The rest of Plumdog is a well–observed adventure with Plum and her human and animal family and friends. She is a canine bon vivant who enjoys life at home and abroad and whose wry commentary about her people and animal friends is often hilarious. September 11th’s entry depicts and tells of a bike ride with Emma. Plum makes it clear that riding in the bike’s basket is hazardous because, quite simply, “… Emma is a wobbly maniac.” Plum is philosophical on July 29 when she speaks of Sid, an abandoned baby bird who died. After describing Sid’s memorial, Plum says “No little bird can ever have been loved so much in so short a life. We will never forget him.” Rarely have two sentences conveyed so much about one so small.
It is that depth of insight and humor that makes Plumdog so likeable. Emma Chichester Clark’s drawings and text render Plum as more than a dog who admits that her “…favorite fragrance is fox poop,” and enjoys rolling around in things humans never like to find on their shoes. Clark, an illustrator and author of books for children, puts her skills to use in the simple, colorful and clearly-read emotions and antics of Plum and the other characters in this ode to dog love and dog awareness. Danielle Deschene’s cover design with its bright gold spine and lovely old-school repeating pattern of Plum could grace any coffee table.
A warning should you read or give Plumdog to a child. The Wednesday, August 28th entry, page 105, contains a four-letter synonym for feces that you might not want in the child’s vocabulary. Despite that small hitch, I highly recommend Plumdog as an example of why we love dogs and what dogs might think about their lives.