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Pet Trouble #5: Oh No, Newf!

Review

Pet Trouble #5: Oh No, Newf!

Heidi Tyler is the tallest girl in sixth grade --- and a major klutz. She is constantly bumping into furniture and losing things, she has been known to wear mismatched socks to school, and her hair doesn’t always look its best. She also absolutely loves dogs and has wanted one of her very own for as long as she can remember.

Heidi is the exact opposite of her mother, whose hair and clothing are always perfect and who looks like an actress from an old-time movie. Her mom is the curator of a local museum, and her dad runs an art auction website. Except for her bedroom, priceless antiques and artifacts fill every room of the Tylers’ lovely --- though not very comfortable or inviting --- home. Living in a museum-like house makes owning a dog --- especially an enormous Newfoundland --- out of the question. Having her own dog is one dream Heidi will do anything to make come true.

Avery Lafitte, Heidi’s neighbor and classmate, is the meanest bully at school --- but he hasn’t always been so mean and obnoxious. In fact, he used to be a sweet kid. After his parents divorced, they remarried; with them constantly arguing and screaming at Avery, he takes his anger out at kids in school. Other students avoid him, but Heidi remains his secret friend.

One day, Heidi tries to break up an argument between Avery and a few other students over some supposedly stolen lunch money. Avery may be a bully, but Heidi knows he is no thief. When the argument gets out of hand, they all get sent to detention. On the way home, Heidi and Avery find a dog --- a huge black-and-white Newfoundland with panda-like paws --- and Heidi immediately falls in love. The dog has no collar, which will make it difficult to find the owner. But taking into account his filthy and half-starved condition, Heidi is sure he has been abandoned.

Heidi names him Yeti and enlists Avery’s help to hide him until she can come up with a way to convince her parents to let him stay. Hiding such an enormous dog is no easy task, and if Avery gets caught with him, he’ll get into even more trouble. Yeti is awkward and sloppy, and there are issues with feeding and bathing him. Even if Heidi is successful in her pleas to keep Yeti (for only a day), what can she do if they insist on taking him to a shelter? What if no one claims him? Or what if he’s lost and the owners don’t want him anymore?

OH NO, NEWF! is the fifth book in the Pet Trouble series about middle-school students and their dogs who always manage to get into trouble. Author T.T. Sutherland has come up with a magic formula for an entertaining middle-grade series: a sweet and lovable dog, likable students facing conflicts and realistic dilemmas, and a positive message that caring for a pet can be an educational and a joyful experience.

While it’s great fun to read, OH NO, NEWF! deftly weaves into the storyline some important and timely issues such as bullying, the effects of divorce on children, and what it means to provide a comfortable home for youngsters and pets. Characters from past installments --- both human and canine --- make cameo appearances here. The sneak peek after the last chapter promises another story in the Pet Trouble series, where I hope to read more about Heidi, Yeti and Avery.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on February 1, 2010

Pet Trouble #5: Oh No, Newf!
by Tui T. Sutherland

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2010
  • Paperback: pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Bk Services
  • ISBN-10: B0073HW4FW
  • ISBN-13: 9780545103015