Good Dog McTavish
With illustrations by Grace Easton
With illustrations by Grace Easton
The Peachey family is in crisis. No one cooks dinner, no one picks up the dirty washing and the kids are always late for school. All because Mum has resigned from being Mum and taken up yoga instead. She's in the tree pose; everyone else is in the doghouse. Except McTavish, a rescue dog with a difference, on a mission to sort his new family out.
“Good Dog McTavish is what books for the 8+ age group should be - well written, engaging and accessible. Bookbag has no hesitation in recommending it — mind you, we reckon that anything by -Meg Rosoff has got to be worth a read.”
— 5* Bookbag Review
“Super read. I wish I had a dog like McTavish!”
— LoveReading4kids reviewer Jennifer, age 8
“I like the moral of the story, which is always help your mum or she’ll abandon you for yoga. My brother and I are going to make the Lovely Chicken Dinner in the back of the book so our mum doesn’t ever go on strike!”
— LoveReading4kids reviewer Daniel, age 9
“Common sense has rarely been so charmingly conveyed”
— The New Statesman
“A laugh aloud, entertaining story with larger than life characters, especially the captivating dog. I can’t wait to hear more about him”
— Primary Times
“Good Dog McTavish is a hilarious story about a special rescue dog who makes a difference in surprising ways”
— The Scotsman
“Full of Meg's wry humour and beautiful prose, this is a story for the young and young at heart”
— Books Are My Bag
“A clever, funny and extremely stylish novella, and a wonderful bit of domestic satire”
— LoveReading4kids, Andrea Reece
“It's what books for the 8+ age group should be - well written, engaging and accessible. Bookbag has no hesitation in recommending it”
“This characteristically sharp and witty comedy of modern life by Meg Rosoff stars a rescue dog who saves his new family, not from fire or external threat, but from themselves. A clever, funny and extremely stylish novella, and a wonderful bit of domestic satire.”
— Andrea Reece Lovereading4kids Book of the Month, April 2017
“Warm family drama full of wry humour and a really excellent dog”
— The Bookseller
“This brilliantly charming and heartwarming short novel is full of spark, keen observations and sly humour. Every character is brought perfectly to life, from grumpy dad to practical Betty and the can-do McTavish. A story with widespread appeal, but beware: it will make you want to adopt a McTavish of your own.”
— Booktrust Review
“This brilliantly charming and heartwarming short novel is full of spark, keen observations and sly humour. Every character is brought to life, from grumpy dad to practical Betty and the can-do McTavish”
— The Book Trust
“What a lovely short story. Recommend to boys and girls, especially those who like dogs”
— LoveReading4kids reviewer Tomasz, age 11
“This beautifully written story is a delight … I highly recommend Good Dog McTavish as a ‘must have’ in school libraries for any age range”
— Prue Goodwin, School Librarian
“This is something of a treat: Mum has resigned from her job and taken up yoga, the rest of the family are in the doghouse… could this rescue dog with a difference be just what they need? Rosoff’s first children’s book for some time, it’s wry, real and big-hearted, and a Spring lead for Barrington Stoke. Beautiful cover and inside illustrations from Easton”
— The Bookseller
McTavish’s decision to adopt the Peachey family was not the most sensible decision of his life. He could tell at once that they were not one of those easy families, the ones that fit effortlessly into a dog’s life. He could tell they were a family with problems.
Whether they’d been traumatised early on, or were just difficult by nature, McTavish had no way of knowing. But he did knowthat adopting them would require patience, discipline and hard work. His logical mind told him to wait for the trouble-free family, a family with easy natures and cheerful smiles. But there was something about the Peacheys, with their sad little faces, that clinched it for him.
Oh, McTavish, he warned himself. Are you sure you’re not making a mistake? Beware! This could mean years of heartache and frustration.
But it was already too late.
McTavish had fallen for the Peacheys.
McTavish might never have met the Peacheys, if Ma Peachey hadn’t decided to give up being a mother.
“I give up,” she said. “No more cooking and cleaning and finding lost keys. No more keeping track of your appointments and nagging you to tidy your rooms. No more boring thankless jobs. I quit.”
At first, the younger Peacheys rejoiced.
“No more healthy food!” shouted Ollie, age 12, punching the air in triumph.
“No more matriarchal oppression!” crowed Ava, age 14, looking up from the book she was reading (The Family – A History of Despair).
‘No more nagging to get home in time for dinner,’ thought Pa Peachey, though of course he would never have said such a thing out loud.
The youngest member of the family frowned.
“Mum,” said Betty Peachey, “are you saying that you’ve ... resigned?”
Ma Peachey smiled. “Why, yes, Betty. That’s an excellent way of putting it.”
Betty looked concerned. “Is that legal?”
Ma Peachey shrugged. “Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But I’m sick and tired of everyone making a mess and expecting me to clear it up. I’m done with cooking meals that get cold because no one’s home to eat them. And,” she said, “I’m tired of having to shout at everyone to wake up, go to bed, put away the washing, say please, say thank you, clear the dishes, stop fighting.”
“But –” Betty began.
Ma Peachey ignored her. “So yes,” she said, “you could say I’ve resigned. For now, anyway. I am taking time out to pursue peace and quiet.
From now on, the only person I am in charge of – is me.”
And with that, she gave Betty a kiss on the head and went off to change into her yoga pants.
At first, none of the Peacheys really missed being told to clear the table or put the washing away. But as days turned to weeks and nobody made dinner or washed the clothes – ever – the sense of freedom wore thin.
The Peacheys ate ready meals and take-aways every night, wore the same clothes over and over, and arrived late to school and work each day. There was a great deal more squabbling and a great deal more squalor.
Betty, who was by far the most sensible member of the Peachey family (after Ma Peachey), began to feel that some sort of intervention was required. And so, one Saturday afternoon just before Easter, a family conference was held.
“Due to the loss of motherly care in our family, I am feeling lost, lonesome and lacking in love,” said Betty.
Ava and Ollie sniggered, but Betty ignored them.
“I have a proposal,” she said.
The rest of the Peacheys leaned forward expectantly. Across the room, Ma Peachey hummed as she worked on her lotus position.
“We could ask Ma Peachey to come back,” said Betty.
Ava gasped, Ollie snorted and Pa Peachey made a tut-tut noise, that did not commit him to any opinion, but still managed to express disapproval.
“Well,” said Betty at last. “If we are not planning to ask Ma Peachey to come back, I have another suggestion.”
Once again, the Peacheys all leaned forward to listen.
“I believe we should get a dog.”
Ollie imagined a big handsome furry creature that might help him be more attractive to girls.
Ava imagined a large melancholy dog that would help her look more intellectual.
Pa Peachey did not want a dog. At all. And he said so.
A heated discussion ensued and, in the end, the three Peachey children managed to prevail. They would take a trip to the Dog Home.
“Not by any means to adopt a dog,” Pa Peachey warned. “Just to browse.”
“To browse?” Ollie goggled. “We’re going to browse lonely stray dogs doomed to spend
eternity locked up, sad and loveless, in cages?” He turned to Ava and lowered his voice to
a stage whisper. “I always said there was something heartless about Pa Peachey.”
Ava scowled. “Nobody browses homeless dogs. Except perhaps,” she turned to glare at her father, “a sociopath.”
“Never mind,” said Betty. “We shall go to the Dog Home to browse, and perhaps, just perhaps, we shall find the dog of our dreams.”
Ollie rolled his eyes.
Ava carefully recorded this conversation in a brown notebook. She had hopes that her book, Memoir Of A Broken Childhood, would sell for a large sum of money and become an international bestseller.
Ollie went back to the book he was reading, feeling (perhaps correctly) that the last thing the world needed was another book, particularly one written by his older sister.