Review by Emily Anctil
Tundra, Penguin Random House, 10 September 2019
40 pages, hardcover, $21.99 CAD, 978-0-73526-466-3
Ages 3-7, Grades Pre K-2
In You’re in Good Paws, Leo needs his tonsils taken out. When his parents bring him to get the surgery, they accidentally end up at a hospital run by and for animals. What follows is the hilarious and comforting story of Leo being taken good care of by a varied cast of animal nurses and physicians.
Fergus expertly intersperses familiar hospital practises with amusing reminders that Leo is being treated by a cast of animals: he receives a flea collar at admissions and an encouraging scratch behind the ear from the cow nurse, Lorraine. Such jokes are scattered reservedly throughout the text. The fact that Leo is undergoing standard hospital processes holds the story elements together, and the humour adds, rather than detracts, from the book’s goal of assuaging children’s fears of the hospital.
Much of the humor in You’re in Good Paws is derived from the bright and meticulously detailed illustrations. Durst imbues the animals in the hospital with a lively, friendly energy and makes use of a multitude of visual jokes on every page. Readers will take pleasure in multiple re-reads, delighting in the pictures of numerous animals in the hospital’s waiting room and cafeteria.
The book’s comforting, cheerful energy will be captivating for readers looking for a laugh and a reassurance to children who are nervous about visiting the doctor.
Emily is a graduate of UBC’s Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Reading picture books is her favourite thing to do. You can find more of her reviews at her YouTube channel, Page Turns.