“My name is Louie, by the way. Or it was. Now they just call me…Poor Louie.”
Louie, an adorable little puppy with sad brown eyes, introduces us to his story. Before reaching the title page of the book, those sorrowful eyes have drawn the reader right in, already questioning if things are really half as terrible for Louie as they’re made out to be.
As his story unfolds we recognise the personified character of Louie – an “only child” to a happy, carefree young couple who take great delight in pampering him and spoiling him with ice creams, jumpers and snuggles in bed. We see how Louie has embraced this lifestyle of luxury without a care in the world, accepting it as his normal and finding within it a sense of contentment. It is with trepidation that the words “life was pretty perfect with just the three of us” are read knowing that that declaration alone spells trouble for this beloved pet.
As Louie’s surroundings start to evolve and he finds himself no longer the soul focus of attention, we sense his feelings of turmoil creeping in under the surface. No child accepts change easily and feelings of resentment and fear rise up within Louie’s troubled mind. As he sees his family prepare for a new arrival and everything starts appearing in twos Louie fears double trouble is in store for him.
Touching upon the rollercoaster of emotions faced by a young child expecting a younger sibling to be added to the family, this was the perfect book for me to read to my four year old son who’s going to turn into a big brother in three months. It addresses the tumultuous emotions and questions pondered by small, enquiring, uncertain minds. Is life ever going to be the same again? Why am I not getting as much attention as I used to? Why is there no longer room for me to climb into Mummy’s bed? And more importantly, am I going to be completely forgotten about altogether?
We see the small changes in Louie’s life accumulate until it becomes so unbearable for him that he decides enough is enough, he just doesn’t feel wanted or loved anymore. Fortunately his escape plans are foiled and Louie faces some unexpected pleasant surprises as he realises that welcoming a new member of the family isn’t quite as bad as he anticipated after all. Delivering a message of warmth and hope, the final pages of this book are sure to elicit a smile.
Image courtesy of Walker Books, who have published Poor Louie by Tony Fucile.
Poor Louie, published by Walker Books, is out now.