Pawcasso - a taco's book review

Pawcasso by Remy Lai

When 11-year-old Jo sees a dog carrying a shopping basket through the town, she must investigate to see where this dog is going.

The dog has a shopping list in the basket and is off to collect the family groceries. But, whose family? And how does a dog do all this without its owner?

The curious Jo follows the dog and after several shopping stops, including one where the dog stops for ice-cream, Jo bumps into kids at an art class who mistake Jo for the dog’s owner.  

The loneliest girl in class and the coolest dog in town

It’s school holidays and Jo’s home life is a lonely one. She has no real friends and her dad’s away for work. Excited to encounter new friends, Jo cashes in on the dog’s popularity and agrees for her and the dog to join the art class.

All the kids adore this dog and want to paint its portrait. When asked the dog’s name, Jo cleverly, seeing it’s an art class studying Picasso, says the dog’s name is Pawcasso.

Liar liar pants on fire

To Jo’s credit, she didn’t start the lie and she did try to let people know that Pawcasso wasn’t her dog. But as the misunderstanding grows so does the adventure. Soon Jo is fully invested in the lie and her lonely world changes. While Pawcasso remains the same adorable canine, Jo’s lies snowball into chaos.

Jo’s made all these new friends and she can’t bare for them to know the truth that Pawcasso is not her dog. But, when the dogcatcher comes after Pawcasso for not wearing a leash, and Pawcasso’s real owners show up, Jo has big problems.

A community

What I love about this book is that it captures an entire community of kids and families dealing with issues that will entice readers into Jo and Pawcasso’s world. The illustrations are so colourful and lively they complement the pace of the story. Overall, Pawcasso is a fun, fast-moving and very colourful graphic novel for kids that addresses the topics of lies, friendships, families, communities and pets. And, all with a sense of humour.


Title: Pawcasso

Type: Graphic novel

Age: 8 and up

Author and Illustrator: Remy Lai

Publisher: Allen and Unwin, Aust. 2021

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