The setting is exotic, strange and foreign to my kids. They’ve never visited such an exquisite hotel. The little girl, Avery, takes her dog for walks past doggie boutiques and the hotel kitchen is filled with lobsters and steak. The fairy-tale nature of the hotel is confirmed with pictures of the little doggie wearing a crown and his girl, Avery, carrying a little wand. Yet it isn’t quite fairy-tale, there’s that recognizable Hollywood sign in the background of one of the pictures.
The book Pansy at the Palace has beautiful pictures that really dominate the book. The writing takes up about a sixth of the pages at most and often less. The thing that sticks out at me about the pictures is the wonderfully snobby postures of all the characters. Their characters noses are high in the air, their figures all long and thin.
Do the characters shape the setting? Could you have a fancy, elegant hotel if the characters did not carry their noses in the air? How would we know that it was fancy and elegant? Or does the location shape the characters? How would I walk, in that setting? I see three options. I might walk gazing around in awe like a tourist, or slouching kind of aware that I don’t quite fit in, or I too might try to take on an elegant posture and pretend I fit in.
The story is cute. The book is well done. Apparently it is based around the author’s experience of her own dog’s popularity when she was staying at a hotel recovering from an injury. It does capture a sense of community, a place where everyone knows everyone and the child and her dog can wander freely and interact with the adults around. You can visit the author’s webpage at http://pansyatthepalace.com/ I was sent a free copy to review.