Clair Hume (text) and Tom Jellet (illustrator), The Bad Bassinis, Scholastic Books Australia, February 2020, 24 pp., RRP $17.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760663377
Jellet’s cartoon style partners well with this light-hearted look at family. The Bassinis are dogs renowned for their rough manners. Tina Bassini had eleven studs in each ear …She opened bottles with her teeth and burped the alphabet…Sid Bassini peed on pram wheels and gave bulldogs wedgies. The unpopular couple cause nothing but trouble in their neighbourhood. They are hardly fit, the reader might suppose, for bringing up a young pup. But meet their match when Pipsqueak comes into their lives. Caring for the yappy little terrier leaves no time for their old tricks. Other dogs start relating positively to them and they remember what it is like to be smiled at. They still, of course, know how to stand up for themselves.
This story can be taken literally to teach children about different dog breeds and their temperaments. For me it gives a wider and humorous analogy on behaviour, community and acceptance. Simple blocks of digital colour carry this emphasis further. Type size variations help readers to put expression and irony into read aloud sessions.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli