“Tuffy loved Tim. And Tim loved Tuffy.” Nothing stands in the way of the bond between Tuffy the dog and Tim the boy—until Tim discovers superhero Ultra Dog (“the ultra-est dog in the universe!” ) and becomes Ultra Dog’s “ultra-est” fan as he prepares to visit his idol at Ultra Land. Terrified of losing Tim and goaded on by the cat next door, Tuffy decides to do everything in his power to keep Tim from loving Ultra Dog more. His plans range from being “the ultra-est at obedience” to “the ultra-est at chores,” but he remains fearful. With only two weeks before Tim’s trip, Tuffy decides on a last resort: the hound dons not one but two Ultra Dog capes and tries to fly off the second floor. Wilson (Perfect Man) and Hanmer (making his picture-book debut) create a humorous comics-style story featuring bold illustrations and amusing pop-culture references (a poster in Tim’s room reads, “To the Dog Star and Beyond!”). Along with the laughs, the tale assures that Tuffy doesn’t need to be ultra-anything, just himself, in order to be loved. Ages 4–7. (Apr.) Correction: A previous iteration of this review misstated the illustrator's name in one line.
Canadian Review of Materials
A familiar story delivered with verve and humour, reminding us that love is not about what you do but who you are.
"How can a regular, slobbery, earthbound dog compare with the likes of caped, costumed, flying video-star Ultra Dog? This is Tuffy’s quandary."
Quill & Quire
"It's slick, sharp, and wildly kinetic."
"Packed with comics-style storytelling, visual cues, and action, this is a great pick for reluctant readers, dog lovers, and superhero fans alike."
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Tuffy is worried when his owner, Tim, becomes obsessed the character Ultra Dog. Tim watches his shows, skates on an Ultra Dog board, and even wears Ultra Dog underwear. Then, things take a turn for the worst when the whole family decides that they are going to visit Ultra Land. Tuffy tries to do whatever it takes to become the best dog ever, even better than Ultra Dog. He shakes all four paws when Tim tells him to shake and even does Tim's homework. Bosworth, the cat next door, keeps telling Tuffy that he is losing his boy to Ultra Dog. Tuffy decides he must take over the super powers of Ultra Dog and learn to fly. He attempts to fly from the second floor of his house and lands in the kiddie pool. Tuffy's super dog attempts are laugh-out-loud funny. The orange cat, Bosworth, who plays the villain, will remind readers of Garfield. VERDICT A hybrid picture book with lots of appeal for fans of comics.-Amy Lukich, Tinley Park Public Library, IL
When a new dog comes into Tim's life, his canine best friend, Tuffy, is left wondering where he stands.
"Tuffy loved Tim. And Tim loved Tuffy." However, Tim also loves Ultra Dog, "the ultra-est dog in the universe!" He loves everything about Ultra Dog: the TV show, books, games, and apparel—even the underwear. Despite Tim's obsession with the fictional pooch, however, Tuffy is still pretty sure that Tim loves him, until the neighbor cat begins sowing seeds of doubt. With the cherished relationship in question, Tuffy tries to prove he is as worthy of Tim's love and attention as Ultra Dog. He strives to be the most obedient, most helpful, most affectionate dog a kid could ask for. The ultra-est, even. When Tuffy's attempts to impress ultimately backfire, he learns the true depth of Tim's love and friendship. Truly, a dog is a boy's best friend, and the feeling is mutual. Utilizing comic conventions, including speech bubbles and paneled illustrations, Hanmer's bright and dynamic visuals add energy and physical comedy to Tuffy's anxious attempts to secure his friendship. Wilson's plot is sure to entertain, but it will also resonate on a deeper level with anyone who has ever felt envious of a new friend, sibling, or pet. Tim and his parents share the same straight, black hair and tan skin; Tim wears his hair long, in pleasing defiance of gender norms.
Humorous and endearing, worth sharing with human and furry friends alike. (Picture book. 5-8)