Leanne Davidson is an Australian author, which is always fun for American readers because of the differences in words and spellings - like tyre instead of tire! Too fun.
I enjoyed this book because of the relationship between Alby and the cat next door, who is not at all impressed with Alby at first. The extra twist is that Alby is not just a normal dog - he's a guide dog.
I read this book with my 6-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. They loved it. My son's favorite part in the book was when Alby and the cat have a near-miss with a car. Alby wonders where the cat disappeared to:
Soon he found himself thinking about the cat. There had been no sign of it on the road after that lunatic driver had sped past them. No blood. No guts. Nothing remotely resembling a flat cat...But if that was the case, surely there would be some of the cat left on the road. A bit of fur, part of a tail, maybe even a squished eyeball...but there was nothing.You can see why that would be appealing to an 8 y.o boy!
My daughter loved Pussums the cat and the way he finally saves Alby. They both loved the way the friendship builds between the two animals as they learn to appreciate each other.
I loved the way she incorporates the guide dog information into the story. Here's what Leanne has to say about that part of the storyline (taken from her blog):
I'd always hoped to write a series of stories about Alby the guide dog, because I felt there wasn't much information around about guide dogs - what they do, and what's expected of people when they're around them - especially for kids. My aim has never been to preach to kids, more to intersperse educational tidbits throughout my stories so that if a child comes away from reading one of my books and has learned something they may not have previously known, then I am happy.I recommend Alby and the Cat, as well as her second Alby book Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness. Despite a few difficult words, both of my kids really enjoyed the story and characters.