The Nearly Calamitous Taming of PZ:
A Laboratory Dog's Search for Love
by Martha Ritter
Illustrations by Matt Ryan
THE NEARLY CALAMITOUS TAMING OF PZ is a children’s novel for all ages. Originally intended for eight- to twelve-year olds, the book has caught the fancy of adults as well.
It tells the story of a mute, nameless foxhound, who has spent her life in a laboratory cage. She has never seen the sun. When she gets rescued, Dottie, a diva ladybug, helps her understand the world and find a home with Olivia, a restless, solitary girl who wants comfort that her new pet cannot supply.
It's not love at first sight. The isolated dog and the hesitant girl must face their fear of connecting. They learn to tame each other, let go, survive adventures, and find the courage to trust as they search for their place in the sun.
The book has both humor and heart. It is an adventure story as well as a tale with many layers--about overcoming obstacles, mining experience for what matters, and doing what is necessary, though not always desirable, for friendship. It is ultimately about the joy of a hard-won connection.
Matt Ryan's illustrations are classic with a contemporary edge. They deftly reflect this fresh, poignant, wise, and sometimes downright wacky book.
Finalist for the 2015-2016 Massachusetts Children's Book Award. (Fourth, fifth, and sixth grades.)