The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
Monty and the Poodles
Publisher: Flying Eye Books
Monty, a mongrel, and Ginger, a rather well-to-do poodle, live on opposite sides of town, but they meet at the art gallery and the park and become friends. Yet when Ginger tries to bring Monty home with her to Poodle Mansions, her owner Miss Lillabet says no.
Fortunately, Ginger has a plan to make Monty acceptable, and after much bathing and primping, Monty passes as a poodle. At first, it’s fun, but after a while, Monty realises he just wants to be himself. Is there a common ground for them, or are Monty and Ginger destined to be apart?
Katie Harnett’s adorable book works on two levels: one, as a fun story about dogs, with lovely doggy illustrations (the last spread features a delightful range of different dogs, all oozing with character), but also as a story about tolerance, compromise and staying true to oneself. There are echoes of The Lady and the Tramp here, and it’s Miss Lillabet (somewhat reminiscent of a Parisian Cruella De Ville), with her imposed ideas of class, that’s the restriction to be overcome.
A socially conscious, tongue-in-cheek yet heartwarming doggy picture book? Yes, please.