Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chewy Louie by Howie Schneider

Copyright ©2000 by Howie Schneider
Illustrations copyright ©2000 by Howie Schneider

A father brings home a dog for his little son. Louie is an adorable black puppy with a tail wagging a mile a minute. He is quickly nicknamed Chewy Louie because of his penchant for chewing everything in sight - bowls, toys, clothing, furniture etc.
Initially, only the little boy and his mother are worried about Louie’s insatiable appetite for chewing, but after Louie begins eating the back porch, even the father becomes sufficiently perturbed to take Louie to the Vet.

The family is assured that Louie is just a growing dog and are advised to feed him more. The illustration of the family driving away from the Vet’s office shows that Louie’s destruction is not confined simply to their home. Louie has bitten large chunks out of the tables and chair at the Vet’s office. He has even eaten off half of the Vet’s pant leg and lab coat.
At home, Louie has wreaked so much havoc that a construction crew is hired to make the house presentable for the little boy’s upcoming birthday party.  The repair men enter the house to discuss the job.   Louie gets to work outside, chewing the lumber stacked on their truck.  After they see their truck, the repair men quit before even commencing work. The family resorts to hiring two dog trainers, one right after the other.  Both trainers have vastly different approaches but both are equally ineffective;  Louie’s behavior sends them both packing and his chewing continues unabated. 
The day of the party arrives, and the family hopes that Louie will behave. Their hopes are dashed and hilarity ensues when it is time for cake. With the guest looking horrified, Louie begins chomping right through the table.
It then seems inevitable to the little boy that his pet will be sent away. Dejected, he plays one last game of fetch with Louie.  To his delight, for the very first time, Louie actually retrieves the stick instead of eating it. Over the next few days, to everyone's relief, it appears that Louie has indeed outgrown the chewing stage! 

The text is rather brief so it is the hilarious illustrations that really make this book a hit. My kids have loved to point out the items, and they are absurdly numerous, that he has chewed. Also, Louie is a rather goofy looking puppy - teeth protruding from his mouth, tongue lolling, tail constantly wagging - which makes him all the more adorable. You will laugh out loud and possibly sympathize, if you too have owned a Chewy Louie.

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