REVIEW: OH, ALBERT! by Davina Bell and Illustrated by Sara Acton

Published: 18th July 2016

Publisher: Penguin Viking (Penguin Random House Australia)

Pages: 32

Format: Hardcover Children’s Picture Book (ARC provided Courtesy of the publisher)

RRP: $24.99

4/5 Stars

Albert can’t help getting into mischief when no one is around. But one day he goes too far . . .

Oh, Albert!

A perfect story about a family and their not-so-perfect (but loveable!) dog.

 

OH, ALBERT! is the perfect little picture book for dog lovers of all ages. It’s adorably cute and playful, but unsuspectingly honest for the reality of what owning a pet is often like.

Told over the course of a week in a families household, OH, ALBERT! gives a first hand account of what owning a pet, in particularly a Golden Labrador like Albert, is really like. Filled with mischief and loveable antics, we follow Albert and his never ending stomach through the week and feel first hand the families highs and lows as Albert follows his nose and eats his way through a red triangle here, an electrical wire there and a half a bike helmet when the family isn’t watching. But when Albert stumbles across something that makes him feel unwell, the family are shaken and quickly take their much loved family member to the vet and take every yelled criticism and bad thought of him back.

Simply put this book is divine. As a a proud owner of a very much prized Golden Labrador  named Jack, I’ve witnessed many of the highs and lows that this book illustrated perfectly. Much like Albert, Jack had eaten everything in his path once or twice before and I’ve felt the frustration as finding something else in pieces and the desperate pleading at the vets when my puppy has found something he shouldn’t have as well.

What I particularly loved about this book was the instance that pets of any kind are family. We treat them much the same as any other family member – yelling at them and growing frustrated when they interfere with something we’ve done/need or eat something they shouldn’t have – but the minute they are in trouble, we are there for them through thick and thin. Because although they might be tiring, frustrating, mischievous and destructive at times, they are also playful, adorable, and so very much loved and so ingrained in the family unit that we can’t exclude the four legged members from the tight knit bond of the two legged members.

Davina Bell’s text is simple and to the point in this book, allowing Sara Acton’s illustrations to really shine. Acton’s brought to life a very playful and cheeky dog that readers of all ages will instantly recognise. What’s more the use of white space and her simply yet effective illustrations mean that readers can easily put themselves or their loved ones into the book along with Albert, adding an entirely new and more emotional element to the book itself.

Finally, whether you are a dog lover or not, this book will appeal to everyone for it’s simple message of forgiveness, hope and unconditional love. Through Albert we experience what it is like when you are found to be constantly doing the ‘wrong’ thing and being admonished for it (‘Oh Albert, how could you?‘). But we also see how the family who appear fed up and upset, are also so in love with Albert and accept him for who he is, crazy eating habits and all. If there is one thing that is so crystal clear, it’s the power of love and the bond of family that saves and protects us, giving us strength and letting us a laugh of those small moments of frustration.

OH, ALBERT! is the perfect book for kids (and adults) of all ages. It’s adorably cute and playful thanks to Acton’s illustrations and it packs quite the unsuspecting emotional punch just below the surface of Bell’s simple text. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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My Dog Jack shares a number of characteristics with Albert – especially the love of eating everything!

 

To learn more about Davina Bell, visit the following social media sties:

Penguin Random House Australia Entry | GOODREADS ENTRY

 

To learn more about Sara Acton’s illustrations, visit the following social media sites:

Sara Acton’s website | Sara Acton’s Facebook | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE ENTRY | GOODREADS ENTRY

To purchase a copy of OH, ALBERT!, visit the following online booksellers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Booktopia | Wheeler’s | Mighty Ape | Book Depository | Fishpond |

2016aww

 

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