McTavish Goes Wild
By Meg Rosoff
Published by Barrington Stoke / Conker
ISBN 978 1 78112 761 2
McTavish is a rescue dog adopted by the Peachey family: a happy, but hopelessly disorganised and indecisive bunch. His first adventure, Good Dog McTavish, told of his adoption, and his mission to sort out his dithering new family.
McTavish Goes Wild is the second of Meg Rosoff’s funny and utterly charming adventures , and you don’t need to have read the first to get swept up in all the fun and excitement of the latest escapade. Rosoff is one of Britain’s most highly original YA writers, and she brings her trademark wit and style to McTavish, a short novel for younger readers.
It’s summer and the Peachey family is behaving like a headless chicken – again. They are like five individual goldfish swimming around in a bowl never connecting.
Ollie is obsessed with getting a girlfriend, and can’t talk about anything else. Mum is caught up with her yoga – the hobby that caused so much mayhem in the first instalment of the series. Dad is doing his usual impression of a hapless parent who hasn’t a clue how to connect with his children. Ava is deeply into philosophy and thinks everyone else should understand Kant and other German philosophers whose names no one can even spell. Only Betty, the baby of the family, is projecting any semblance of normality.
But when youngest Peachey suggests that the family goes on a camping trip, the only other member of the family who is remotely interested is McTavish. Dad is convinced that terrible things happen in the countryside. Ollie only wants to go somewhere with a disco, and Ava wants to stay at home reading her philosophy books.
When the family finally finishes squabbling and agrees to go on a camping trip after all, McTavish is delighted. A holiday will give him the chance to continue his mission to sort out the family and bring them closer together.
McTavish Goes Wild is packed with gentle and knowing humour. The plot might be thin, but each member of the family is carefully drawn, with their own quirks and peculiarities. Rosoff’s stylish writing and astute eye for the dynamics and oddities of family life are much to the fore in this fun book.
This is a laugh-out-loud story with larger-than-life characters – including the captivating canine – all packaged with sly wit and sparkling prose. They say animals in a family can make a difference. McTavish certainly does that as he gathers together the Peacheys like a sheepdog herding sheep. A very entertaining – and short - read.
John Millen can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org