Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

McDuff Moves In

When I was young, my moth­er and I lived in a suc­ces­sion of apart­ments, none of which allowed pets. I had a fer­vent hope for a dog or a cat, an ani­mal friend to love. Every year for Christ­mas, I received a new stuffed ani­mal, usu­al­ly a dog because my moth­er didn’t care for cats. I still have those stuffed ani­mals, but I’ve nev­er had a pet. Even when we final­ly moved into a house 20 years ago, we were trav­el­ing so much that we wouldn’t have made a good home for an ani­mal. But I have always loved sto­ries about dogs and cats. That’s why I’m so touched to read McDuff Moves In, lov­ing­ly brought back in print by The Gryphon Press.

Rose­mary Wells wrote this sto­ry. Susan Jef­fers illus­trat­ed it. It was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in 1997 but it hasn’t been avail­able for a num­ber of years. It’s a time­less sto­ry, set in the 1930s but pos­si­ble any time and any­where.

A dog on its way to the pound in the back of a pick­up truck jumps out and wan­ders through a scary night until it is attract­ed to a small house by the smell of vanil­la rice pud­ding and sausages. When Lucy and Fred are curi­ous about the “woofs” out­side their door, they open their home to a West High­land White ter­ri­er, a West­ie. Believ­ing they are too busy to adopt a dog into their fam­i­ly, they set out for the city pound, a place that, in the 1930s, round­ed up stray ani­mals and, most often, euth­a­nized them. Very few dogs were adopt­ed out of pounds in those days.

This is an empa­thet­ic and heart­warm­ing sto­ry, so you might guess what hap­pens on Lucy and Fred’s dri­ve to the pound. Chil­dren lis­ten­ing to this sto­ry and view­ing Susan Jef­fers’ illus­tra­tions will fall in love with this dog, who gets his name from a cook­ie! The text is the per­fect length, with a turn-the-page pac­ing. The col­ors are sump­tu­ous, rich, and warm. And an author’s note tells us that both Rose­mary Wells and Susan Jef­fers have had West­ies as com­pan­ions for many years … they know these dogs!

McDuff Moves In interior illustration

illus­tra­tion copy­right Susan Jef­fers, from McDuff Moves In, The Gryphon Press, 2019

The author’s note and the back mat­ter are encour­ag­ing about adopt­ing a dog from an ani­mal shel­ter or a res­cue group. Advice on how to do that is a wel­come fol­low-up to this lov­able book. And the recipe for Lucy’s Easy Vanil­la Bean Rice Pud­ding is includ­ed with a note that vanil­la extract is poi­so­nous to dogs so you must use vanil­la beans. We’re delight­ed to include this recipe in Cookol­o­gy, cour­tesy of The Gryphon Press.

This is a won­der­ful book for your home col­lec­tion or your stash of class­room books about car­ing for ani­mals. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

McDuff Moves In
writ­ten by Rose­mary Wells
illus­trat­ed by Susan Jef­fers
The Gryphon Press, 2019
ISBN 978−0−9407−1942−2

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