Cole’s Perfect Puppy has gorgeous cover art. It gives a clue to what this book will be about, and may appeal to those who are fond of dogs.
Despite this aimed at 8-12 year olds I was surprised at how adult in tone this is.
Set at Christmas, the story opens with Cole and his brother, Caleb, shopping at the mall. What Cole really would like to do is look at the puppies, one of which Cole has his hopes on receiving for a Christmas present. The two boys both must be home before it becomes dark.
I like how it is mentioned ‘it is dangerous to ride our bikes at night. People driving cars might not see us on the road’ and ‘you shouldn’t call people names. It’s hurtful. It might make you feel important but it really just makes you mean’
Cole’s Perfect Puppy has these subtle lessons for those younger readers and also shows us Cole is a responsible person.
There are plenty of themes in this book. It greatly impressed me how they all neatly aligned.
Religion plays a part, so does friendship and the sacrifices we make for those we befriend.
The parents of Caleb and Cole, and their friend Rachel, have important roles. Their absence in part gives their children independence. I think the circumstances of the parents goes some way into explaining to children, who may be reading, the dangers in the world and possibly opens, and makes easier, a difficult discussion.
There is a slow reveal of characters: The puppy, uncle Bobby, and Rachel. Back story is written well and doesn’t detract from the story.
I do feel characters, in particular uncle Bobby, could have been fleshed out more. Maybe given more characteristics. I am curious as well to the age of these boys. I do think the ending was rushed, with some characters that we didn't get to say goodbye to.
The book begins to wrap up and you could predict the conclusion but it was a touching moment.
Cole’s Perfect Puppy is a superb book and suitable for those of any age or reading ability.