McTavish on the Move ISBN: 9781781128732
Published by Conkers, 2019
This often laugh-out-loud-funny book is a gem, and while the subject doesn't seem to be a particularly humourous one, it becomes so under the expert hand of Meg Rosoff. In the first place, we meet Pa Peachy coming through the front door singing loudly and happily. To the Peachy family this is a remarkable development because he is NEVER happy. Grumpy and complaining about his job is his usual manner, and they are amazed, particularly because they all love him very much in spite of his grumpiness. When they learn why this unusual joy has appeared, they are less than full of joy themselves. Pa has a new job, and he believes it is the answer to all his problems, but the job means a house move, and nobody except him is happy about that, particularly Betty, the youngest, who has never lived in another house. It also turns out that Betty will have to change schools, while Ava, the eldest and very into philosophy, and Ollie (fast becoming girl crazy) will not have that problem. Betty is bereft, and for comfort turns to McTavish, the Peachy's rescue dog, who has empathy in buckets, and is always there, particularly for Betty. When they see their new home for the first time, they are surprised how nice it and the neighbourhood really is, and except for Betty are fairly convinced that all will be well. Betty, while seeing that the house is a nice one, is still very unhappy about a new school; she doesn't want to be 'the new girl', and she will miss her friends. The family gets moved without any particular problems except for Betty's sadness, and McTavish is the only one who seems to notice that. He has moved several times and has discovered that friendliness and optimism are the answers to finding happiness. Being a thoughtful dog, he puts his mind to how he can help Betty - which he does in spades - and solves Betty's problem of making new friends at school with panache and uproar! And, of course, Pa Peachy goes back to his grumpy ways because 'a job is basically just a lot of work'. There are three other books about McTavish and the Peachy family, and with their well-spaced lines, cream paper and delightful black and white pictures, all of them should be enjoyed by even older kids too. Great stuff!