Cosmo, a thirteen-year-old golden retriever, is worried. His family is arguing and yelling all the time. Mom and Dad yell so much that Cosmo’s boy, Max, begins to tell Cosmo that he thinks they might get a divorce. And if that happens, Max says, he and Cosmo might be separated—Max has heard that sometimes, when parents get divorced, one parent takes the kids and the other takes the dog. Cosmo has been Max’s dog for twelve years—since Max was born. Separation is unthinkable. Max and Cosmo need a plan. When a local kennel club hosts a canine dance competition, they seize the opportunity. If they can train to dance together, and even win a role in a movie, surely Mom and Dad will recognize that Max and Cosmo must stay together. Despite his increasingly painful arthritis (and the distracting presence of Cosmo’s nemesis, the demonic sheepdog down the street), Cosmo is determined to train hard and to win for Max’s sake.
Stories of devotion between boy and dog, as narrated by the dog, are perennial favorites. I, Cosmo provides everything a reader could want from this genre: a picture of the world as seen (or smelled) by a dog, funny dog mishaps, critiques of human behavior, and, of course, an evocation of mutual love between humans and dogs. Cosmo is a charming, funny narrator, who provides a warm and compassionate introduction to issues of divorce. Cosmo’s fascination with dance is not entirely convincing, but it doesn’t much matter. For children who love dogs and dog books, I, Cosmo will be a welcome and satisfying addition to their bookshelves.
Naomi Lesley ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.