30 pages
ISBN 0-590-74048-2
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Barbara Spurll
Reviewed by Joan Buchanan

Joan Buchanan is a writer, storyteller and instructor and author of
Taking Care of My Cold.


Children 4 to 7 will find the humor and predictability in this story
appealing. Miss Goldfinch lives near the sea, where she gathers seaweed
for her garden. When a basket of puppies arrives on her doorstep she
takes care of them. She finds homes for all but one, Mustard—who,
unlike the others, is large, ungainly, and prone to getting into
trouble. The rest of the story deals with how Mustard eventually finds a
new home.

The text contains interesting vocabulary and has pleasing rhythms for
reading aloud. However, the story structure could be improved. The first
part sets up the expectation that the book will be about a woman
lumbered with an unwanted dog. About halfway through, the focus shifts
from Miss Goldfinch and her problems to Mustard and a boy on the beach.
The story would have been stronger had the dog been the centre of this
action-packed story from the beginning.

The illustrations are descriptive, but I find the elongated, pointed
human faces and the dog’s bulging eyes unappealing and cartoonish.


Waterton, Betty., “Mustard,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,