Hello, friends! Our book today is Honey & Leon Take The High Road, written by Alan Cumming and illustrated by Grant Shaffer, second of the pair’s stories based on their real-life dogs.
Continuing Honey and Leon’s adventures, the perfectly mismatched pair (Honey is a large, fluffy mutt; Leon is a compact and cheerful Chihuahua) continue their mission of keeping their dads safe, near and – thanks to a few clever disguises – far. Hearing the familiar, foreboding sound of luggage wheels, the two cleverly ascertain their dads’ destination: London! They tail the dads as planned, across the Atlantic, but find that London is only a waypoint; the pair follow their fathers to Edinburgh, then the island of Barra. It’s there that the glamorous Honey meets a dashing collie named Coll, and begins a holiday romance, leaving Leon to do the lion’s share of dad-guarding. But when a thick Scottish fog falls over the island, can Leon figure out how to safely lead everyone home?
Sweet. The story is fairly similar to the previous book, but adds a few new elements to spice things up. One plot point that disappointed was the mid-book reveal that the dads have known about their pets’ hijinks all along – it’s not a bad twist, but happens far too early and with too little fanfare. However, there is a plotline in this book that I’ve never seen before: Honey and Coll begin a whirlwind romance, but admit that his place is in Scotland and hers is in New York. So the two end their relationship amicably by going their separate ways, with Honey expressing to her brother that she’s happy to have loved Coll, even if it had to end. For a picture book to portray a romance like this is incredibly rare, but so beneficial: it shows little readers that not all couples work out or last forever, and that’s okay. It’s a small plot point, but I was so impressed by it, because it fosters a healthy view of relationships. Shaffer’s art is fond and deeply personal, and works perfectly. The length is fine, and JJ and I (and Kodo!) loved the playful dog’s’ antics. Definitely worth a look, and we enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!