About the Holiday
National Puppy Day was founded in 2006 by Colleen Paige to recognize the joy and companionship that puppies bring to people. The day also promotes puppy rescue and adoption as well as education about puppy mills, and is quickly becoming an international observance. To celebrate consider donating to your local animal shelter or if you have room in your life for a new friend, adopt a puppy!
By Martin McKenna
Edgar wants a puppy for his birthday, but what he gets is so NOT a puppy. Out of the gift box pops Jarvis, a goggle-eyed octopus ready to party. Disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe it. Jarvis can’t do anything a dog could do. Sure, he might be clever—Jarvis buys Edgar an ice-cream cone instead of staying on his leash tied to the lamppost, for example—but Edgar wants a pet he can enter in the upcoming dog show.
Perhaps with training Jarvis can learn to be more like a dog. But when Edgar tells him to lie down, Jarvis goes to sleep wearing PJs and socks, holding a teddy bear and surrounded with books. Edgar’s command to “play dead” elicits a surprise lunge from a wardrobe in a toilet-paper mummy costume. It’s just too much, and drives Edgar crazy! Finally, however, Jarvis learns to sit like a dog, and off they go to the dog show.
At the dog show things go…well…Jarvis just can’t help being himself. He wears a tutu, plays the piano, does card tricks, and plays the drums—all at the same time. The other entrants are not amused, and Edgar is sooo embarrassed.
Jarvis decides to leave, and after penning a note apologizing for being a bad dog, he slips down the toilet and out to sea. When Edgar discovers Jarvis is missing, he realizes he has been wrong. He remembers all the great things Jarvis did and thinks that Jarvis was the best Octopuppy in the world! Suddenly, he wants his pet back. He looks everywhere, but Jarvis is nowhere to be found.
As a last resort Edgar yells his apology into Jarvis’s escape route. His message is carried through the plumbing by various pipe and underground creatures until Jarvis hears it. Before Edgar can turn around, Jarvis is back! To celebrate his being home, Edgar’s family and friends throw Jarvis the kind of wild party he was looking for all along.
This endearing story has just the right mix of craziness and sincerity to make it a favorite on any child’s bookshelf. Martin McKenna hits all the right notes in his tribute to friendship and the idea that true friends accept and appreciate each other the way they are. Jarvis is a sweetie doing very un-doglike things. He rescues a cat instead of chasing it, cooks sausages instead of stealing them, and performs surgery instead of biting the mailman. These vignettes make Edgar’s rejection all the more heartrending and his ultimate realization very satisfying. McKenna’s illustrations are loaded with silly and profound details that kids will want to linger over, and the two-page spread of Edgar leading Jarvis home after the dog show is an emotional marvel.
Ages 3 – 6
Scholastic Press, 2015 | ISBN 978-0545751407
National Puppy Day Activity
Braided Puppy Toy
Your puppy or full-grown dog will love playing with you and this easy-to-make toy that’s perfect for tug-of-war, fetch, or any kind of fun.
- Fleece in two or three colors or patterns
- Cut 3 strips of fleece 15 inches to 20 inches long. You can use just one color, two, or three!
- Holding all three strips of fleece together, make a knot by looping them at the top, feeding the ends through the loop, and pulling tight.
- Braid the 3 strands of fleece until there are 3” to 4” left at the end
- Holding all three strands together, knot them as before
- Your puppy or dog toy is ready to play with! (Cats and kittens like these too, just don’t tell your puppy—Shhh!)
Picture Book Review