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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Roo and Vladimir by Minky Stapleton

Roo is big. He is goofy, clumsy and all he wants is a friend. But the other dogs are afraid of him, which makes Roo sad too. Then he is befriended by Vladimir the Pekingese - the best friend in the whole world. It takes a big storm and a washed out bridge for Roo to prove his worth, but eventually he becomes a much-loved town hero.

This is a tale of unlikely friendship and about finding a place in the world.

Author Minky Stapleton is quite clearly a dog lover (the book is dedicated to her "misunderstood goofball" Scooby after all) and she does a great job highlighting all the joy of canines.

The story is fine - there's some great describing words that make it a fun read-aloud; whimpered, whined, huddled for example. Stapleton's story of overcoming misconceptions could lead to some interesting conversations about perceptions and inclusion with children - but it's the illustrations that make this book really stand out.

Stapleton illustrates the story too and her kooky cast are a delight. Pet lovers will adore the playful cast of canine characters and a delightfully lazy duck.

Roo is a bundle of energy and displays a full range of emotions. My children were in hysterics as Roo takes over the couch, tongue lolling and tail wagging. Vladimir's small but confident nature, and his teeth, are equally brilliant.

Roo and Vladimir is a sweet picture book packed full of quirky characters, each with their own personalities that are bound to delight.

Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell

Scholastic, RRP $19.99


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