Author: Cynthia Bardes

Illustrator: Kim Weissenborn

ISBN: 978-0-615-69253-1

Pansy at the Palace is a picture book about an adorable brown poodle who is rescued from homelessness by Avery, a little girl who also has curly brown hair. Avery adores Pansy and takes him to live with her in the Beverly Hotel. Soon, Pansy gets caught up in a mystery that involves a jewel thief and a fluffy white cat. 

The mystery is simple and easily solved; but hey, this is a book for young children. My granddaughters love it and ask to hear read over and over again. After reading the story, we got out a stuffed dog and cat and did a role play of the story. That was a lot of fun for them and spurred their imaginations to create variations of the plot.

I was both surprised and delighted with the superior quality of the book itself. The pages are extra thick, so reading it over and over again, as little ones like to do, will not wear it out.

High praise is due to illustrator Kim Weissenborn. The pictures enhance the story and imagination. Every page contains loads of detail to discuss with preschoolers as you read them the story. The animals are cute, the characters are engaging, and the colors are beautiful.

I love that Pansy is adopted from an animal shelter.

I have to disagree with reviewers who criticize the author for setting the story in a luxury hotel. Most Americans enjoy watching wealthy people and viewing luxury locations on TV. What’s wrong with portraying this side of society? It does exist, and it’s fun to make-believe. I find that children have no problem with this at all. The author herself lived in this hotel, and there is a photo of her with the actual Pansy on the dust cover.

I wish standard English paragraphing rules had been followed. Specifically, when a new character speaks, a new paragraph should begin. It’s a minor detail, but I don’t care for “once upon a time” as an opening for a contemporary book. But that's me.

Overall, this is a delightful children’s story, visually rich, that actually has a plot, resolution, and a good message about valuing pets.

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