Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Beverly Cleary
Illustrator:  Jacqueline Rogers 
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
HarperCollins, 2014   ISBN: 978-0380709557

The Huggins family have got a new car and Mrs. Huggins is not keen to let the family dog, Ribsy, sit in it. Mrs. Huggins is forced, however, to let Ribsy into the car when the dog insists on following the car when Mrs. Huggins and Henry set off for the shopping center. She just cannot let the poor animal run after the vehicle all the way.

At the shopping center Ribsy is left in the car while the family goes to do their shopping. All goes well until the moment when a nasty yappy dog goes by. The annoying barking is more than Ribsy can stand. He barks and barks and finally he jumps up against the window. When he does this he ends up pushing the button that makes the window do down and out he goes into the parking lot.

Ribsy wanders around for a while and then he realizes something very worrying. He has no idea where the Huggins' car is. Not only that, but Henry took his collar off that very morning and now no one will know who Ribsy belongs to.

And so begins a long adventure during which Ribsy become the "cleanest dog in America." He also causes a scene at a football match, he becomes a class mascot, and he talks on the telephone. For much of the time all he wants is to be back home with his boy. Of course Henry fells the same way. All he wants is to have Ribsy back home safe and sound.

Ribsy is often an important character in the Henry Huggins books. In this title he is given center stage. Beverly Cleary does a wonderful job getting into the mind of this easy-going mutt who loves hot dogs, chasing bikes, and playing with boys. She does not over anthropomorphosize Ribsy. Instead, she presents him as he is – a dog who has simple needs, who misses his home, and who does not like violet scented bubble baths. With plenty of humor and excellent doggy insights, Beverly Cleary tells an entertaining and often amusing story.