“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who Wants to Be a Poodle I Don't • Picture book

Who Wants to Be a Poodle I Don’t
Written and illustrated by Lauren Child • September 2009 • Candlewick Press • Picture book • Ages 4 - 8
Lauren Child takes the lead with this wry and wooly tale of a pampered poodle who just wants to paddle in puddles -- like REAL dogs do.
Story:  Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight (Trixie Toes for short) does not want to be a pampered, poofy poodle.* She doesn’t like the puffing and poofing and preening. She doesn’t like being dressed in little pink ponchos. She wants to be dazzlingly, dangerous, and daring. And most importantly, she wants to paddle in puddles, like REAL dogs do. Wouldn’t you?

*poodle noun an intelligent breed of dog with a thick curly coat that is often clipped in a distinctive manner. The name poodle comes from the German word Pudel, from Pudelhund, or “splashing dog”; the word Pudel is also related to the English word puddle.

Story behind the story:  Lauren Child, the author-illustrator of the beloved CLARICE BEAN books, explains: "The story was inspired by my friend Verity, who used to have a little Burmese cat. Verity was always wanting to dress the cat in little bonnets and jewelry, and I couldn’t help wondering how the cat might feel about this – she didn’t look like the clothes-wearing type. I had already written a book called That Pesky Rat, about a neglected street rat who has nothing, and I thought it would be interesting to write about a pampered poodle who has everything. However, all the poodle really wants is to catch sticks and splash in puddles like a normal dog."

Unleash your inner poodle with these activities.

FYIAll the review copies for this title have been sent.  But please check back and click on the comments link to read what your colleagues have to say.


Kimberle B. said...

This book had my third graders laughing out loud. We loved the way the words moved around the page. The poodle looked like she could jump off the page and into our laps. The rest of the illustrations were so colorful they couldn't help but catch your eye. Many of us could relate having pets of our own. We talked about what our pets could be thinking sometimes and how we probably wouldn't want to be a poodle either. Great work Lauren.

Anonymous said...

I read this book to my 4th graders. They loved it. I loved being able to easily tie in story elements to this book. The book was illustrated in such as a way as to feel as though you could grab to pictures and hold them. Loved this book, loved the alliteration, loved the message and loved the illustrations!

Linda said...

I can't wait until tomorrow to read this to my 4th graders. The book has endless possibilities--alliteration, poetry(concrete and free verse), particples, parts of speech, self image, fitting in, individuality. I hope (in my spare time!) to make a file of activities to use with this picture book. I can see it winning awards.

Lisa Kennedy said...

It's difficult to write any more glowing descriptions of "Who Wants to Be a Poodle, I Don't" than have been written before me....but... This is an adorable book. At first I had difficulty finding the flow of the words but as I got into the story it became clear that the movement of the words followed the movement of the illustrations. Having a poodle mascot in our media center I feel as though I know little Twinkle Toes myself. I agree with the dangerously, daring, dog - dogs should run into puddles, not get poofed and pommed, and certainly NEVER get dressed up in "people" clothes! The possibilities are endless for enjoying this book with various grade levels. Especially in a library with its own prissy poodle. Live dangerously Dewey just like Twinkle Toes! I can't wait to share this funny story! 41/2 picnic baskets

Kimberly Watson said...

What a cute book! I imagine many poodles feel the same as Trixie Twinkle Toes. The illustrations remind me of a beautifully designed scrapbook. You can almost feel the texture of the fabric and the poof of Trixie's pompoms. I agree with the other posters about the wonderful alliterations. What a great way to introduce poetry to students. I cannot wait to share it with my classroom.

Rating: 5/5

EShay said...

An adorable book with an important message. The use of poetry is an excellent touch. As a shoe lover, it really entertained me.

The word paths were cute, but I wondered if they might get in the way of students making meaning.
The pictures were amazing, but a bit busy. They might distract those with short attention spans.
I give it a 4.

Jennifer Hansen said...

Great story with fun and exciting illustrations! I agree with the recommended ages (4–8) for a read aloud story time. Due to vocabulary and change in text direction, I feel that this age group may have a little trouble reading the story alone. I believe that all elementary school students (K-5) will enjoy and have fun with this story.

The provided activity kit is a great start to the many activities that can be incorporated with this story. I can’t wait to get my lesson plans ready for this one! Great job – I rate it a 4.5/5 due to the readability concerns – but this is something all students need to be exposed to!!

jlarkin said...

I just received Who Wants to Be a Poodle in my mailbox today - and I loved it! The illustrations were fantastic and seemed to really jump out of the page. I also enjoyed the actual story and thought it was cute - great use of vocabulary. I, like a few others, found the layout of the text a little troublesome at times - I had to focus too much on that instead of enjoying the flow of the story itself. Other than that - great!

A definite 4.

Christina C said...

Very Cute Book! The first thing I noticed was the 'gem' on the front cover. Loved that it was inset on the page so that it will never become lost as do such things when little hands get them!

The story was very sweet and the illustrations drew you into the page even after the words were read. This would be a great read aloud book for families, but it seems to be a bit difficult reading for the age level (my 9yo had some difficulty reading it).

All in all, we loved the story, loved the illustrations, and will read this story many times over.

I rate it a 5/5 - definitely plan a whole tea party around the theme and wear your best shoes!

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

What a treat! I just received this book in the mail. I can't wait to share it with my students. I think the literary elements throughout are great. This would be a fun book to use as examples of these elements with older children. Unlike some of the reviewers, I liked the way the text was written; it reminded me of the concrete poems in A Curious Collection of Cats by: Betsy Franco. Although younger children might have a hard time reading some of the text, it is great for a read aloud.
5 out of 5.

Elementary Librarian
Houston, Texas

Anja said...

Love this book! Have had the best time sharing this delightful book with students....the text has great voice and wonderful word choice, great examples of alliteration. Because of the nonconventional print layout, it may be difficult for some younger, struggling readers to follow. Good book to use when talking about the struggle to be oneself.

5 out of 5

Tina's Blog said...

Lauren Child has written a cute and clever new picture book. Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight is a pampered poodle. Her owner, Verity Brulee believes that Trixie is a posh sort of dog and treats her to the finer things in life. All Trixie really wants is to be a dog- rolling in the mud, walking in puddles, experiencing other regular, ordinary dog activities. It takes Trixie rescuing a small dog from a puddle for her to owner to understand that Trixie doesn't really want to be the froo-froo dog Verity desires.

I liked the collage illustrations and the colorful, patterned backgrounds. Kids will enjoy this story of an animal who just wants to be herself - not what her owner wants her to be. The text is fun to read because of the different placement of various sentences in the story. The one drawback I do find to that is that if a child is reading the book, it is sometimes confusing to follow. I even had to look carefully a few times to make sure I was reading the story in the correct order.

This book is sure to appeal to our Fancy Nancy readers. A very cute picture book!
Rating 4.5

spmdmom said...

Kids will be attracted to this book by the engaging illustrations and humorous story. I do think that the busy backgrounds mixed with free flowing text often makes the book difficult to read. I like the book's message to be yourself.


Anonymous said...

I am a K-4 librarian and every year I do a Lauren Child author study with my first graders. They absolutely LOVE her books, all the way through 4th
grade and beyond. Their favorite- "Who's afraid of the big bad book" - contains many elements similar to "Who wants to be a poodle." Lots of text that circles and swims through pages, colorful scrapbooky paper backdrops (Lauren Child loves to use real wallpaper in her collages), and things that
adults might say, at first glance, would be "too hard" for kids to read.

Yes, the littlest ones will have trouble following some of the curly and cursive text, but the story is fun. A rich mademoiselle, Verity Brulee, keeps her poodle indoors and calls her names like "Trixie Toes" or "Trixie Twinkle Belle." Trixie is dressed up and pampered, and hates it. After her owner makes her visit a psychiatrist, Trixie shows her owner she is a "dazzlingly dangerous daring" dog - she saves a little puppy named "Gripper" from
drowning in a puddle. Mademoiselle Verity never dresses Trixie up again,
and does go out in the rain from time to time.

The message: stand up for yourself and be who you are, and don't forget to see others for who they are.

As a read aloud, the best method for this book would be to read the text
aloud on each page without showing the picture, THEN show the picture.
You'd get dizzy if you tried to hold it up and read. :)

I would rate this a 4 - not a highest rating of 5 due to the fact that it
doesn't outshine other Lauren Child books.

Susan E
Hillside Elementary School
Mt. Laurel NJ 08054

juli said...

Not being a fan of poodles myself I have to say that Trixie Twinkle Toes certainly won me over. She's my kind of poodle! I shared this book with a team of teachers at a workshop yesterday and everyone agreed that this book would be wasted on only 4-8 year olds. We were all 5th-8th grade teachers and we loved the literary elements, the use of alliteration, the text layouts, the illustrations, the vocabulary and the characters. Today I read it to my class and they really enjoyed it. I know we will revisit this text several times this year.

I give this book 5 out 5.

janew said...

The multimedia artwork is amazing and capture's the essence of Verity's high couture! The book deserves revisiting to capture all the nuances contained in the illustrations and to appreciate the book's style. The story is engaging and will delight children as they listen to Trixie desperately trying to unlock her inner dogness! Ah. 4.5

Megan B. said...

Even though I am a mature adult, I am a fan of Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola books. I was so ecited to see this book come up, and it definitely did not disappoint. I love her unique illustrations. I love the cover of the book. I love the poodle! I give this book a 5 out of 5.

Laurie said...

What a great book! The cover alone was eyecatching enough to make you want to read this book.

Then, the story was written beautifully as well. The illustrations are wonderful. I would highly recommend this book. It is great as a read aloud for younger kids and for those a little older to read on their own.

I give it a 5 out of 5.

Nikki Mills said...

I have been a Lauren Child fan since I read "I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato" long ago, and this book does not disappoint. The books message of being yourself is also repeated in her use of her unique illustrations, collage, and word paths that she has used in many of her books. I agree that the word paths can make it more difficult to read, but they enhance the meanings of the words themselves, for example the watch swinging back and forth in the psychiatrist's office when she speaks of hypnosis. I can hardly wait to read this to all of my classes. 5 out of 5!

Anonymous said...

A quite delightful story. I am sure that my third graders will love this. The creative way to teach and display different style of prose. I think this book will be enjoyed by both the 3 and 4th graders. I think that this book will be read by the teacher and the students to understand the great way to express one's story

Gayle said...

The cover of the book looks so cute that it grabs your attention. The white poodle with her nose in the air and her pretty diamond collar.

As I read the book, I thought it might be difficult for the recommended age group of 4-8 years to follow the twists and turns. However, I do believe it can be read to that age group, and say 3rd-5th graders could read it on their own. The illustrations are beautiful and the story has a great message to the reader. I give the book a 5.

Carol said...

This is the type of book you hug, because the presentation is that spectacular! A work of art is what this book is, from the dazzling gem on the cover, to the precise and textured filled collage illustrations. I love the flow of the text and how it confidently breaks all left to right print rules. It models a relationship between the text and the illustrations in such a seamless manner and interesting way. A creative story that hasn't been written before! The art of the picture book world is honored here.

Carol Null
K-8 Librarian
SWH, Maine

Anonymous said...

What a cute book. I enjoyed the creativity of the writter. It is a nice book to show students about using text in a variety of ways. You couldn't help but like the "Poodle". One of my eighth grade students picked it up and enjoyed it. I think that a book pet dogs will always be adored by children of any age.
4/5 in my basket.

Heather Hill said...

Being the dog lover that I am and the proud owner of a Cockapoo, I was very excited to receive "Who Wants to be a Poodle - I Don't". The story is very cute and funny and will be most appreciated by older students that can understand the humor and vocabulary. Younger students will love the pictures and the way the words dance across the pages. The artwork and use of textures will make this a favorite to return to again and again.

I think that the way the words are placed around the pages could be confusing for beginning readers who are not sure where to start reading text and where to go next. I would hold off on showing it to 1st graders until the end of the year when they should have directionality and return sweep solid.

I'm glad Child wrote this book to get the word out that poodles are sassy and full of personality...they're not just for show anymore!

I give this book a 5 out of 5!

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA

ahslibrarian said...

Lauren Child has created an experience in word and texture that provides a fun and colorful story. Readers young and old will be able to experience the many patterns and textures utilized by Child to relate the frilly story of the poodle that liked puddles. At times, the textures and collages completely overwhelm the printed word on the page. The excess does further the point that poodles, and Trixie Twinkle Toes in particular, live in such a world that is extravagantly and ridiculously pretentious.

At times the words on the page are hard to read and do require that the book be maneuvered to accommodate the reader and any audience that is participating. The subtlety of the many patters used on the pages also calls for a more personal reading experience. As a consequence, this might not be the best book to read aloud with a larger group. However, the story does lend itself to retelling and adaptation. The story is both memorable and rich with fully developed characters.

This book should appeal to the targeted audience of 4-8 years, but older readers will appreciate it differently because they will be able to manage the twists and turns of the text. Classrooms and libraries will want to add it to their many other books that include dogs and maybe even hold a contest to rename Trixie with a more dazzling and dangerous name.

Almost a 4

John Parker
Media Coordinator
Andrews High School
50 HS Drive
Andrews, NC 28901

Barbara Leitschuh said...

I am a fan of Lauren Child books and this witty and fun to read book is now one of my favorites. I found myself feeling a wide range of emotions as Trixie tries to convey her unhappiness to Verity - actions do speak louder than words. Readers of all ages will love the depth of the illustrations and the way the placement of the text flows with the illustrations is impressive. This is a book that you will want to revisit again and again.

Julie P. said...

When I first saw WHO WANTS TO BE A POODLE I DON'T by Lauren Child, I thought the cover was absolutely gorgeous. Of course, I am a sucker for the color pink and cute little dogs; but the cover was textured for the dog's curls and the collar even had a fake rhinestone embedded in it! It was just too adorable -- and "very girly" according to Booking Son!

Despite my son's initial impressions of WHO WANTS TO BE A POODLE I DON'T, he actually ended up really liking the book. I did too! We both came to the same conclusion about this story, but I'm not entirely sure it was for the same reasons. We both liked the story, but I think he liked the dog and I liked the presentation. I think it's safe to say that WHO WANTS TO BE A POODLE I DON'T is a picture book that can appeal to kids of all ages!

The story is just precious. A very-pampered poodle decides that she doesn't want to be a poodle -- she just wants to be a normal dog and play in puddles. Booking Son truly appreciated that a dog wouldn't want to be dressed up in raincoats and forced to stay inside unless the weather was nice. He loved that the dog eventually was able to play in puddles and just enjoy being a dog!

As I read this book to my son, I thought the pictures were terrific. I liked this illustrations of the dog, Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight, and her owner Verity Brulee; however, I absolutely loved how the entire story was presented. Each page looked as if the characters and objects were cut-out of patterned paper; and the text was all different sizes and wrapped around the pictures. The entire time I read this book, I kept thinking that the characters looked familiar and they reminded me of something. It wasn't until a few days later that I realized Lauren Child is the creator of the Charlie and Lola books -- it all made sense!

I definitely recommend WHO WANTS TO BE A POODLE I DON'T to preschoolers, elementary age kids, parents, and teachers. It's a beautiful book that also has an entertaining story, and it's perfect for reading aloud. In fact, I was excited to find that there are activities geared towards this book including a connect-the-dots, a matching game, and a word find. It really is a perfect book for teachers to feature in their classrooms.

Rating: 4/5

Sandra Stiles said...

I read this book twice. I loved. The rhyme and story line were wonderful. A story told from the perspective of the poodle, what a great idea. i have always wondered how much dogs liked being pampered. According to trixie Twinkle toes Trot-a-Lot Delight, poodles would like to be treated like other dogs. It is okay to be pampered on occasion but not consstantly. It is also not appropriate to give them long names. One thing that I like even more than the story was the pictures. I could not find the name of the person who created such wonderful pictures to go along with the story. It looked as if they had used scrapbooking papers and possibly fabric to create the looks. It was bright, cheery adn gave the feel of elegance. By thsi I mean the poodle was pampered and the owner bought expensive items so teh choice of backgrounds and papers used gave the impression of elegance. Thsi book will be a gift to one of my young friends Charlotte. She is 4 years old and loves to read to her mommy (an art teacher) every night. I know the two of them will thoroughly enjoy this book.

Stacy B. said...

I look forward to sharing this with my Kindergarten class although I can easily see how students at nearly every level would enjoy this delightful story! This is a must-have for libraries and will make a terrific read aloud for classrooms. 5/5

Anonymous said...

This book is just adorable! I absolutely love the illustrations. The way it is written is so creative- the words just dance along the pages. I am very excited to share this with my class. I know they will just love it!

5 out of 5.

Lemontheduck said...

This book delighted my students to no end---boys and girls alike.
The rhythm and rhyme to the story, the word choice, and the presentation all worked together perfectly.
At first I thought this story would just be about a pampered pooch, but it was so much more than that.
This is a perfect book to model word choice and presentation.
It was so much fun to read, my students ask to hear it over and over.
My reluctant writers are motivated to keep going with the goal of having a finished product that's equally fun.
The textured front cover and picture on the back cover was a great addition.
I rate this book a 5 out of 5.
Laura Backman
Hathaway School
Author of "Lemon the Duck"

Anonymous said...

I tested out this book with my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade library classes and was surprised by the positive response. Their responses included that it was "funny - cool that she starts to be a bad girl - I like that the doctor's are confuse - the author added a lot of details - I liked the transformation of the poodle - it made me laugh." There is a lot of high-level vocabulary in this book, but the kids didn't seem to mind. The only problem I encountered was reading the book out loud. They way the text fits and winds around the illustrations sometimes makes it difficult to read out loud. Overall, another great book by Lauren Child. I would give it a 4 out of 5.

Kevin Hudson
Library Media Specialist
Vancouver, WA

Monica said...

I shared this book with my first graders. My girls were instantly attracted to the poodle illustration on the pink cover.
I loved the collage format of the illustrations throughout the book.
This would be a great book to explore text features: various font sizes and styles, patterned text, and the movement of text across the pages. Although my class of mostly ESL students did need help with some of the vocabulary, they did enjoy it as a read-aloud. I think this book would be perfectly suited for grades 2-4.

Peaceful Reader said...

I love Lauren Child's work. I fell in love with Charlie and Lola when my daughter started watching the series on tv. I think her collage artwork is stunning. So really, I am a huge fan so I was ultra-disappointed when peaceful girl and I settled in to read her latest, Who wants to be a poodle-I don't!! The front cover definetely drew us in but right in the first few pages we were thrown. Peaceful girl is working very hard to be a reader and it has been her practice of late to read the first few pages of our bedtime books. She had just recently read me a Charlie and Lola book and she felt confident she could read this one. Her little face fell on the very first page of print though as it is written in fancy cursive script and she said so "can't read that"! Well, we got past that as I pointed out printed sentences she could handle and we did read it together, but it was a struggle. The story line is wonderfully imaginative-really, a poodle who wants to be more daring, what a fabulous idea!! This time though her artwork goes over the top and makes it difficult to find and read the words. Peaceful girl still liked the book and for all Lauren Child's fans you will also. For an elementary library though I would rate it 3 out of 5 just because students will have difficulty reading it on their own and it won't make an easy read-aloud for teachers. More accomplished readers will find it fun and challenging.
Michelle Holt
McKinstry Library

Anonymous said...

A laugh-out-loud tale for children and adults to share together. As an early literacy skills instructor, I would recommend this book for teaching print awareness to children because of all the fun ways text is used. I loved the illustrations with all the fancy, realistic patterns and textures. My only complaint is that sometimes it was difficult to read the text because there was too much going on in the background patterns.

Monica Wilson said...

What a cute book! There are many wonderful aspects to Who Wants to be a Poodle I don't. To begin the cover will attract many, the illustrations will attract more, and the story will make them a fan! I am an elementary school librarian and I shared this book with a few different classes ranging from 1st-3rd grade. I was interested to see if the boys would enjoy the story (the cover is pink and "girly"). To my surprise many of the boys loved the story. The story is about a sophisticated young girl and her pampered pet poodle. The only problem, Trixie Twinkle Toes (the poodles name) dreams of jumping in puddles, getting dirty, and just being a regular dog. In the end, Trixies owner finally understands her (only after Trixie saves a drowning chihuahua), and allows her to partake in some regular dog activities.
I would rate this book a 4 in my picnic basket

Mrs. Horne said...

Any book with a "pet theme" gets my vote. At first glance I thought this book was going to be silly or not appropriate for younger kids but once I started it I realized it is an entertaining and creative read that students love!

My son was really into it as we have cats and no dog, so he loved the pictures of the poodle. Sometimes there is nothing better than a simple story that catches the imagination. I loved the book...

Picnic Basket Rating: 5/5

Lindsay Horne
New Kent Middle School
New Kent, VA

Heather said...

Adorable!! The rhyme and rhythm of this book was fun and upbeat. The poodle was fun, authentic and probably close to what a pampered dog would be feeling. Loved it!

El said...

My 4th grader, who is a big fan of Lauren Child’s Charlie and Lola, joined me reviewing this book. She read and I listened. We both examined the quirky illustrations. We both liked the story and empathized with the misunderstood pooch. We enjoyed the artwork and found it as funny and interesting as the story. This one is a winner! 4.5 out 5

angel believer said...

Who wants to be a poodle I don’t

This book is an enjoyable read that begs to be read again and again. One reading of the book is not enough due to the elaborate illustrations that beg to be studied. Your eyes will be drawn to the illustrations and then to the text. Lauren Child certainly had fun creating this fanciful book. The illustrations are done in scrapbook/collage. The text and illustrations are very well in tune with each other. The main character, a pampered poodle named Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight, doesn’t enjoy all of the pampering. I would suggest this book for first grade and above due to the length of the book and the vocabulary. The book could easily be used for vocabulary lessons for a classroom. I give this book a 5.
Mary Lou D, literacy facilitator, Bella Vista Elementary, Cottonwood Heights, Utah

Natalie H. said...

Cute book my preschooler greatly enjoyed. Great illustrations and a positive message about being yourself. Can't wait to share with my third and fourth graders! 4 stars

Rebecca said...

Absolutely hysterical! 5 year olds loved the story and the illustrations. Great book to talk about the feelings of an animal and point of view.

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