Stevenson, Robin. Pride Puppy. Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. Orca Book Publishers. 2021. $19.95. 32p. HC. 9781459824843.
Between being Awake and catching some Zzz’s, a queer family experiences the Pride Parade through the letters of the alphabet and one naughty dog.
Most alphabet books don’t have much in the way of a plot, but in Pride Puppy the alphabet serves as a creative constraint for a story about a dog who gets lost at the Pride Parade. The family overheats in the sun, makes new friends, and enlists the help of a drag queen as the parade proceeds with motorbikes, school buses, and a colorful float. The author and the illustrator clearly know their Pride celebrations inside and out—there’s even a couple getting engaged on the float. Typical! Its only departure from reality is that there are no cops or corporations at this parade—just 2SLGBTQIA+ community members of all stripes. It’s truly a relief to read a fun kids’ book about Pride that doesn’t feel like it’s been through a sieve of corporate sanitization.
In addition to the exciting story and inclusive illustrations, the book is also a brilliant seek and find for kids looking for other words that start with each letter of the alphabet. In the text, G is for Grandma, who they meet at the parade, but kids who like a challenge will point out the goose, the grasshopper, and the guitar. They might even learn a new word: gazebo. This is a book kids will love to pore over as they show off their sweet alphabet skills. They’ll enjoy that it reflects their reality, too!
A real ham could make Pride Puppy a blast at storytime, but families will get the most from this one by taking it home and spending time reading it together.
Reviewed by Ashley Dunne