The Policeman and the Dog Who Always Caught the Bad Guys is a beautifully illustrated book that takes place in the small town of Pumpkinville, where Officer Cherries and his pet police dog Hunter keep the bad guys at bay.
At first read, this book is…cute, in a non-offensive way. There are some serious gaps that leave the reader confused, such as why does it take place in a normal town filled with normal people, yet inexplicably several key characters have heads shaped and colored like fruit, with fruit names to go with them?
The “bad guys” mentioned in the title are actually somewhat offensive, especially one who appears to be mentally handicapped and is named “Maniac,” and another who literally bites the heads off chickens. This is a children’s book, not a death-metal rock video.
As I outlined my thoughts about this book on paper, taking care to examine the clever illustrations and give serious thought to the flaws in the story line and plot, I was left with a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. There was nothing wrong with the book, but there were too many places where the dialogue or narration simply drifted off. I needed to research this book a little bit further, so I began with the publisher’s website.
It was there that I discovered that this book was written by a first grade student.
Immediately, it began to make sense. The lack of direction and the inconsistencies suddenly melted away when you realize the author of this book wasn’t even able to speak fully complicated sentences a mere three years ago.
The Policeman and the Dog Who Always Caught the Bad Guys went from being a slightly confusing non-descript effort at children’s literature to a praiseworthy effort from someone who obviously loves to investigate his own ability to create a story line and a full complement of characters out of nothing.
Should it matter that the author is so young? Should this book still be judged against other children’s books? That is not for me to decide. Removing the context of the author’s inexperience from the judgment, this book is a pleasant enough read, but it’s no Dr. Seuss. But I’d love to give this author the opportunity to compare this book to anything Dr. Seuss could have written when he was six years old.
Reviewed by Mercy Pilkington for IndieReader