Title: Pansy at the Palace
Author: Cynthia Bardes
Illustrator: Kim Weissenborn
Publisher: Octobre Press
“I couldn’t believe it! Someone wanted me at last! My new life was beginning!” Pansy the puppy exclaims when adopted from the animal shelter in Cynthia Bardes children’s book, Pansy at the Palace.
Unnumbered but approximately thirty pages, this over-sized, hardcover with a duplicated jacket cover depicts a colorful rendition of a curly brown haired puppy in front of a hotel on the front and the dog trying to kiss a butterfly with one short paragraph on the back. The inside back flap cover has a photograph of the author, her biography and information about the illustrator. With no profanity, scary or offensive scenes, the book would be enjoyed by any preschool age or early elementary school readers but with a possible sensitive caution toward those who are not financially well off. Illustrator Weissenborn’s large drawings are easy to understand with their expressive, lavish and sometimes obviously arrogant characters, correlating to the sentence or two usually at the bottom of each card stock page.
Written from the dog’s point of view but no description if male or female, this short tome is about a small poodle who feels forgotten and unloved at the animal shelter until young girl named Avery sees the pooch. Falling quickly in love, Avery asks her mother if they can adopt the little animal and name it Pansy. They do and the three drive to their home at the posh Palace Hotel in Beverly Hills. In addition to being shown the upscale hotel’s rooms and nearby stores, the pup is introduced to the chef, neighbors and their pets, including Desiree, a white fishy-smelling cat who hisses at Pansy. The next morning one neighbor’s jewels are missing and the police come, trying to find the culprit before guests consider leaving. When the jeweler is missing his most valuable diamond necklace, Pansy tracks the smell to Desiree and learns her owner had trained her to steal from the hotel’s tenants. That evening everyone congratulates Pansy for saving the hotel and being the best dog in the world.
There are plenty of visual aids while the large colorful pages are turned in this story including a scene where the dog and cat are on the top of the chef’s kitchen table right next to food along with an ongoing sense of opulent overtones of hotel living that may be hard to explain to less fortunate children. However, the puppy is cute and cuddly, being endearing to not only Avery and the hotel guests, but hopefully to young readers also.