Tag Archives: dogs

Pamela’s Picks: Children’s Books For Grownups (and in this case cat lovers too) – Princess Puffybottom – And Darryl


As someone who reads any book about cats that she comes across, whether fiction or non-fiction, for children or for adults, there are some that are extra special and Princess Puffybottom – And Darryl by Susin Nielsen is one of them. The story is about a cat who is Princess of her domain but is dismayed by the addition of a puppy to her kingdom. The puppy is messy and uncouth but worst of all he takes attention away from the Princess. Princess Puffybottom knows that this intruder needs to be banished somewhere far faraway. She tries everything to do that including hypnosis, trickery and sabotage but nothing works – it looks like Darryl is there to stay. Princess Puffybottom is sad but no one even notices – except Darryl. Slowly the Princess learns that Darryl has some redeeming features. He worships her, puts her on a pedestal (literally!) and even helps her get extra food. Princess Puffybottom comes to understand that there is room for both a Princess and a companion in her kingdom and life is good again. But what is that, that her human subjects are bringing home on the last page?

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Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis, the 2015 Giller Winner

Fifteen DogsWhat does it mean to be alive? To think, to feel, to love, and to envy? Do you think having our human consciousness is the premise of sustaining our happiness? Or does this human consciousness  trouble you sometimes?

I didn’t initiate these questions. The 2015 Giller Prize winner Andre Alexis did with his Fifteen Dogs. The story says two Greek Gods give a pack of fifteen dogs “human intelligence” to see whether “human intelligence” is a gift that makes creatures happy or “an occasionally useful plague”. So suddenly these dogs start to struggle with their new perspective on life and on themselves. Alexis is challenging the reader to examine our own existence and recall the age old question, “what’s the meaning of life”?

“What’s the meaning of life?” I would be too ambitious to discuss such a big philosophical question here. What I am trying to do here is just to share some reflections surrounding the topic. Some of my views may reflect some Stoicism and Buddhism theories. Continue reading