Diva Pearl the Pekingese: Life After Showbiz by Miss Pearl and Vicki Gattuso is a new picture book chronicling the life of a pampered per- a show dog named Pearl. This canine memoir covers everything about Pearl's life, starting with her ancestry, her career, motherhood, retirement and even her brush with death. This unique autobiographical account is written from the first person point of view of a dog.
This brightly designed book will appeal to those readers who have pure bred show dogs themselves and are familiar with the life of a dog show. I can imagine a grandmother sharing her love of pure breeds and dog shows as she gives this book to a young grand daughter. For those readers unfamiliar with pure breed dogs and shows, this book is educational. The cool scientific facts throughout the book will certainly capture the attention of children. There is a lot of information about the Pekingese breed as well as its ancient origins. So many facts will jump out at the reader- young and old alike. It is interesting to note that this man made breed of dog can not be born without medical assistance of a c-section due to the shape of their skulls. It raises issues about the efficacy of man's interventions in breeding animals. This pampered animal lives in the seat of luxury, enjoying pampering that I am sure not too many humans can afford! Pearl has her own pink stroller, boudoir, hairdresser and caretaker. This book is filled with full color graphics and photographs of Pearl- some of these photos are from professional photo shoots and many are candid shots. While the quality of photos reproduced well, I believe some of the candid shots could have been omitted as it can detract from the professional look of the book. For example the spread on page 8 looks a bit cluttered almost like a personal photo album. The photograph of the airport signage on page 12 also gives the book a scrapbook type of touch- which possibly may have been the author's intent.
At times the text is too lengthy and might not hold the younger reader's attention. In some areas, too much information is provided for the young audience. When Pearl explains on page 52, "I almost died because my blood didn't clot right, and the vet thought that I died for a moment...I decided to come back"- . I am certain this may initiate some questions about life, death and maybe even spirituality. Some of the euphemisms may not be easily understood and would have been better if left out entirely. For example on page 48, under the section "Motherhood", the reader is told that "Puppies are usually in the oven for about six weeks." Appropriate terminology would have been more suitable in this case. Or this fact could have been omitted entirely without detracting from the story. The phrases: "unique way of playing" or "wrestling with Shoko" might be misunderstood or misinterpreted -especially in light of the fact that it is followed by the section on "Motherhood". A parent or grandparent can not simply read this book casually to a child without being prepared to address some intense questions about life, death, birth and reproduction that this book is certain to raise.
This book is sure to hold the attention of any reader of any age. This candid autobiographical accounts covers everything in Pearl's rich life. Her life is literally an open book, which ultimately delivers a message about the complexity and intrigue of the life of a showdog. As a blogger I received this book for the purpose of writing this review.