A Gift from Mooch


64 pages
ISBN 0-88780-548-5
DDC jC843'.54





Illustrations by Pierre-André Derome
Translated by Sarah Cummins
Reviewed by Carol L. MacKay

Carol L. MacKay is a children’s librarian living in Bawlf, Alberta.


The books about Mooch in the First Novels follow the
sometimes-complicated life of Carl, and his best friend Gary. Carl, who,
earlier on in the series faced the death of Mooch, his beloved German
Shepherd, continues to cope with his loss in books seven and eight. In A
Gift From Mooch, Carl tries to make sense of the recent changes in his
best friend’s behavior. Gary refuses to play with Carl. He won’t
even let his dog, Dumpling, step foot in Carl’s yard. Even though Gary
has become angry and withdrawn, Carl refuses to give up on his friend.

Dear Old Dumpling continues the storyline. Here, Dumpling is the one
behaving strangely after the arrival of a mysterious German Shepherd
that seems to have captured Dumpling’s heart. But Carl wonders if this
visitor has shown up for another reason, possibly to give him a message
from his deceased pet?

In both these stories, Gauthier brings out into the open some of the
confusing experiences that children sometimes experience: the death of a
parent, loss of a pet, single-parent romance, and the resulting
emotional difficulties that can inflict child and parent alike. Heady
topics for a First Novel series, but Gauthier handles these subjects in
a frank, uplifting manner.

Translated from the French by Sarah Cummins, the text generally reads
well with short, manageable sentences at an early chapter book level.
There are a few translation difficulties, which make for an awkward
phrase here and there but these do not detract from the overall reading
experience. Recommended.


Gauthier, Gilles., “A Gift from Mooch,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23498.