Review: Evie and Pog: Take Off! and Puppy Playtime!

This joyfully illustrated new junior series by gifted author / illustrator, Tania McCartney is an exuberant romp about the garden and neighbourhood playgrounds with best friends, Evie and Pog.

One is a young girl who adores cake, knitting and favours daisies above any other pretty thing. If Evie could read books, bake cakes and roll about in the daisy-spot grass all day, her life would be near complete, much the same way a dog's would be. In fact, sometimes Evie's behaviour is more pooch-like than her best friend, Pog's.

Pog is a young - well let's call him a Pug type breed of dog who's predilections for vegetables, engaging newspaper stories and a good pot of tea seem a little whacky or rather out of whack at first, but soon settle into the tone of the story. For it is precisely Pog's refined and reserved nature along with his level-headedness that cleverly counterbalances Evie's compulsive and clumsy capers (she trips over a lot!).

These two spend their days in their extremely cool tree house, each ensconced in their own favourite nook doing their own favourite things, content to cut and paste, read and sip. That is until life thrusts its head up their slide and invites them down on adventures.

In truth the adventures Evie and Pog tangle themselves up in often begin as days as ordinary as toast but are made increasingly chaotic and comic thanks to their overzealous, cleaning-obsessed, Granny Gladys and some often inconveniently placed knitting yarn.

Ironically, it is Granny's turbo-charged knitting ability that also frequently saves the day.

Three separate tales grace each of these books with common elements such as cupcakes, jungle gyms and puppies running throughout. The language is simple enough for confident early primary readers to handle with ease and is typeset to accent particularly interesting verbs and nouns creating visual interest and literacy excitement. Storylines promote friendship, problem solving and lateral thinking; there is always a messy dilemma to untangle themselves from and always a satisfying if not sticky outcome making these tales a breeze to enjoy.

McCartney's playful illustrations bounce with a unique jaunty flair encouraging readers to visually seek out the action and consequences of Evie and Pog's exploits rather than rely wholly on the narrative.

Quirky, fun and unexpected, this zany series is chock-a-block full of bizarre storylines, effervescent imagery and positive outcomes that all add up to maximum entertainment.

Take Off! and Puppy Playtime! are out now. In April 2020, Party Perfect! will complete this series pack. Let's hope there are more on the way!

Title: Evie and Pog
Author: Tania McCartney
Illustrator: Tania McCartney
Publisher: Harper Collins, $12.99
Publication Date: January 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: Take Off! 9781460757932 Puppy Playtime! 9781460757949
For ages: 6 – 8
Type: Junior Novel

Buy the Book: HarperCollins Children’sBooks, Boomerang Books


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