BOOK REVIEW: The Juggling Pug, featuring a cute but naughty pup

The Juggling Pug
by Sean Bryan
Illustrated by Tom Murphy

Being a pug lover, I had to read The Juggling Pug. In the book, written for children ages three to six, a talented pug learns to juggle. He and his town become famous. But pug is naughty, destroying homes, digging on floors, and pooping on carpet. Since kids get such a kick out of laughing at bodily functions, I’m sure that will amuse young readers!

One day, a girl lost her patience and declared to the town that no matter how good he was for the town, they should get rid of him because he is so troublesome. Pug begged forgiveness and promised to change his ways, but he can’t resist pooping on his friend Doug’s carpet.

The illustrations are great, and it would be fun to discuss with a young reader how many different things pug juggles. I am conflicted about the story itself. It seems draconian to expel pug without some coaching. Then when pug gets a reprieve, his promises are false and he doesn’t even try to be more well-behaved.

Insofar as a kid is exposed to the book without any critical analysis, they may come away internalizing some poor messages. However, if the reader uses the story as a teaching moment, then the book can be a springboard for discussing respect for others and their property as well as consequences of bad behavior.

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