Review: Pawcasso

Summer break has just begun, but utter boredom continues for Jo. Her dad is away on business a lot. This causes her sadness. Her sister Tina, always angry at her, makes fun of Jo’s lack of friends which adds to her misery.

Gazing through the window, Jo sees a dog carrying a basket in its mouth. Curious, she follows to see where it will go. This gets her out of the house at last.

Jo’s repetitive days come to life as she follows the route the dog takes to collect things written on a list in the basket.

But dogs do other things too. They sniff at everything, mark their territory, and roll in smelly things.

Forced to wash the dog, Rachel the dog washer, becomes Jo’s first friend. They see cranky Mr ICCC (I will Complain to the City Council), watching them from across the road.

At the Dog Ears Bookstore where the neighbourhood children are attending holiday art classes on the subject of Picasso, they forget the subject of pears, and want to paint the dog. Words slip easily from Jo’s lips when asked what the dog’s name is, and she answers, Pawcasso.

Little lies are worth the attention Jo gets, as she is drawn into the painting circle and new friends. She finally fits in.

Jo’s popularity increases as much as Pawcasso’s star level. So do the lies, as the Saturday excursions to the painting program continue. But the mystery to whom the dog really belongs is yet to be solved.

This is not the only problem Jo faces. Frequent complaints about the dog being off the leash by Mr ICCC puts pressure on Jo. When the dog is caught and taken to the pound, she must find the owner as soon as possible.

Who is the owner and what is Pawcasso’s story? Is it connected to cranky Mr ICCC? Can Jo repair the damage her lies may have done to her new friendships?

Important themes are addressed in this graphic novel. References to art and artists present a new interest for children. The topic of how lies can quickly spiral into something irreparable is the central thread.

These added to the importance of love and friendships, the need to fit in, and teamwork, addresses collectively, many issues that young children face today.

Title: Pawcasso
Author/Illustrator: Remi Lai
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $ 16.99
Publication Date: 1 May 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760526771
For ages: 8 – 12
Type: Graphic Novel

May 15, 2021 at 02:09AM Anastasia Gonis