Synopsis: Albert can’t help getting into mischief when no one is around. But one day he goes too far… Oh, Albert! A perfect story about a family and their not-so-perfect (but loveable!) dog.
Oh, Albert! is an adorable picture book perfect for animal-loving families who will no doubt enjoy reading about a mischievous dog, Albert, who is lovable but also often a handful. The story’s honest look at dog behaviours and the potential reality of owning an active pet – the items eaten or destroyed, the need for regular exercise, the worry, and the pet visits – also make the book a good title for parents who want to educate little ones about the responsibilities of pet ownership. In addition, the title reinforces how easy it is for us to take those people, pets, and things we love for granted when life gets busy.
The story is told over the course of a week, and depicts some of the frustrations and joys of a modern Australian family who are often busy at work, school, exercising, and enjoying other extracurricular activities. The text, by Davina Bell, includes plenty of identifiable moments for children and adults alike, as well as repetition of key lines which will keep children happily following along.
The wording is simple and to the point, which allows illustrator Sara Acton’s beautiful, emotionally-engaging, yet minimalist pictures to shine and bring Albert and his family to life even more. Acton’s illustrations of Albert, in particular, help to showcase the animal’s thoughts and feelings. Additional humour and pathos are also conveyed through the stirring illustrations.
No matter whether readers are dog lovers or not, they are sure to find much to enjoy about this memorable picture book’s themes of unconditional love, forgiveness, and hope. The title also hones in on the importance of family bonds and accepting each other for who we are, warts and all.
Oh, Albert! is recommended for junior readers aged around four years and up.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review.