Chloe and Mick Inkpen
(Macmillan Children’s Books)

Zoe loves her doll Molly. Unfortunately so does her dog, Beans. It all started when he “misplaced” his own toy, Binky Boo. Since then, he has been pinching Molly, carrying her all day, refusing to give her back … he even takes her to the park to meet his doggy friends! But when Zoe becomes so stinky that she can’t even bear to sleep with her, Zoe knows she has to act … and Beans is not happy about it!

When I saw this book, on the 5minutespeace blog, I instantly fell in love, just the way I had done with Dogs Love Books. This book seriously has the cute factor!

This first instalment in a new series by father-and-daughter team Chloe and Mick Inkpen introduces a new dynamic and absolutely charming duo: dinky Zoe and her big furry dog Beans.  There is absolutely nothing to fault in this book: the illustrations are stunning, vibrant, simple and full of fun. The use of the white background and the pastel palette of colours are particularly effective at creating a warm atmosphere and at drawing attention to the characters. The use of perspective in some of the illustrations really caught my eye, as it is quite unusual, and will help young readers feel involved in the story:

The story itself is well-pitched for the targeted audience: the text is fun, and short. The issues of sharing, ownership and friendship are well-covered, and I think that using the girl/dog partnership will make the situations less “close to home” for little readers and therefore less threatening. But the message is still there loud and clear!

There is great dynamics between Zoe and Beans, and it reminded me of another series with a little girl and her dog, Rita and Whatsit, although the artwork could not be any more different! I think this series will do really well in the preschool market, and deservingly so, but even my slightly older children are really enjoying it. And I just think that little Zoe is too cute for words!!!

Warmly recommended.

Sent for review by publisher