5 Stars Pipper's Secret Ingredient Jane Murphy & Allison Fingerhuth Neal Sharp Mutt Media 145 Pages Ages: 8+
Meet Pipper’s loyal friends and the characters she encounters as she gallops across desert dunes in a camel race, pedals her way through the streets of Paris, chases through the cars of the Orient-Express, joins rock-and-roll fans at Katz’s New York deli, and climbs the Inca Trail—all with Bumbles Brug on her tail. Contemptible Bull Bogus, who is determined to find the secret ingredient first, hired the clumsy flunky Bumbles to do his dirty work.
Will Pipper succeed and keep the secret ingredient from the paws of Bumbles and Bogus? And what surprise awaits when she returns home from her travels? This Snoutz adventure is better than a T-bone on a desert island after a romp in the waves.
Pipper is a lovable canine who writes a cooking blog. Lately, she is stumped for ideas.Pipper’s friends—Hilda, a firefighter who loves five-alarm chili, Sophie, a librarian whose favorite food is alphabet soup, Archibald, an inventor who loves to chase squirrels, Sydey, a mail carrier (mail canine), who loves blueberry ice cream, and Chance, a personal trainer with a penchant for cucumber sandwiches—help Pipper come up with ideas for her food blog.
Across town, Bull Bogus runs a factory churning out horrible dog biscuits full of chemicals and other nasty ingredients. He told the world, on a dog bark show, that his company would be rolling out the best biscuits ever, even though he had nothing new to sell. Bogus needs to figure out a new formula quick or he’ll be a fraud.
Pipper’s friends saw Bogus on TV and began talking about what makes the best biscuit. Chance said it must have vitamins and minerals, Archibald wants a cool design, Hilda wants to feel like a bad dog eating something fun and decadent, while Sidney thinks a good biscuit should be a delicious reward. Pipper took all those ideas in and decided she would write about the perfect treat, but first she needed the perfect ingredient. This starts her on a whirlwind trip to New York and Paris, to Gaza, Machu Picchu, and Egypt. She rode the Orient Express, planes, bikes and camels in search of the elusive ingredient.
Bull Bogus learns of Pipper’s quest and sends his flunky side-kick Bumbles Brug after Pipper. Bumbles is to return with the secret ingredient before Pipper, so Bogus can use it to make the new biscuits he doesn’t have but claimed he did. Bumbles is always one-step behind Pipper from the pyramids to Katz Deli in New York. Will he find the best ingredient before Pipper? Will Pipper write one of her best blog posts ever? Will cats ever become part of the story (sorry, please ignore this comment).
Even though there are no cats in the story, I liked it very much. The adventure takes Pipper to many interesting places around the globe. Bumbles reminds me of Barney Fife, the bumbling side-kick for Sheriff Taylor. Kids will enjoy the race through the Orient Express, the jeep ride up and down the desert dunes, and all the other slap-stick, hilarious moments Pipper endures on her search for the secret ingredient to make the best dog biscuits canines will ever taste. I also like the ingredient Pipper found, but I can’t tell you what it is.
The illustrations are fantastic. The characters are as lifelike as dog-people can look. The pictures are bright, cheery, and put extra personality into each dog. Numerous illustrations take up a whole page or even a spread. The overall quality of the book is superior to any other author-produced book I have seen all year. I think it is even better than many traditionally published books. I would even go so far as to say this is a picture book-novel for the middle grade kid who loves adventure and illustrations. A love of dogs doesn’t hurt either, but as a cat lover, I can tell you we love this book and other cat people will too.
Pipper and her friends are a diverse bunch with all sorts of personalities and jobs. Pipper takes kids on a learning spree of new and diverse cultures, customs, and history. The side-story of Bull Bogus and Bumbles Brug helps move the story along, and adds wonderful chase scenes and other humor to the story. The manner in which Pipper and her varied group of friends get along, and the respect they have for each other is a great model for kids.
Pipper may be a girl, but that won’t stop boys from loving this adventure as much as girls. If you have a canine in your family, this is a must read. Your dog will enjoy having their kid read this story to him chapter by chapter. With relatively short chapters and illustrations breaking up the rather simple text, reluctant readers will enjoy reading Pipper’s Secret Ingredient. Several new stories have been planned, making this series a much anticipated read for several years to come.
Hear what the authors Jane Murphy and lison Fingerhuth had to say about co-authoring Pipper’s Secret Ingredient by clicking HERE!
Authors: Jane Murphy and Allison Fingerhuth website Illustrator: Neal Sharp website Publisher: Mutt Media website Release Date: March 30, 2012 ISBN: 978--0-615-38808-3 Number of Pages: 145 Ages: 8 and Up
Copyright ©2012 Neal Sharo & Snoutz Adventures, used with permission