KIRKUS REVIEWS (Featured Review) —“Ritter is at her best when grappling with her main characters' internal lives, outlining in an accessible, realistically paced way how the psychology of grief and trauma can give way to hope and love.... Essential reading for anyone who has adopted, or is planning to adopt, a dog in need of love.”
GIMMETHATBOOK.COM Review —“Thanks to author Martha Ritter for gifting me this book for review! I had the pleasure of meeting her at BookCon 2015, and we had a wonderful conversation about many different things. We discussed a book called Nest by Esther Ehrlich that I had previously reviewed, and wondered if PZ could be comparable to it.
"Happily, I can state that yes, PZ is just as wonderful, touching, funny, poignant, and full of good feels as NEST. The plot is simple: lab dog ends its usefulness, goes to shelter, gets adopted, and learns about the world. It’s the telling of the story: sometimes from the dog’s point of view, sometimes from the adopter’s, that makes it so beautiful and a joy to read.
"Your emotions will range from tears to glee as PZ navigates through a world she’s never even known existed. Dotty, the ladybug that lives in her ear (just under the flap) encourages the former lab dog to be strong and learn how to be true to herself. There are moments where you can completely understand what the dog is thinking, as a situation arises and PZ reacts. I could see her trying to go through a doorway and finding it terrifying, so much so that I was able to transfer her fictional emotions to living canines I’ve encountered. (I’m a vet tech by trade and felt that reading this book gave me better tools to cope with scared dogs at my clinic.)
"The family that adopts PZ is a broken one. The father has passed away a year ago, and the 11 year old Olivia is getting skinny due to lack of appetite, and often breaks into tears. She and PZ circle each other warily at first, each doubting each other’s ability to be a good companion. There are disappointments and triumphs, and you can see how the girl and the dog truly help each other to grow and learn.
"Towards the end of the book, there is an event that affects the relationship between the shelter dog and grieving girl. I can’t say I saw it coming, but it is fitting and well written. The author has created suspense and it is easy for the reader to want a happy ending, to hope that Olivia and PZ can work together as a team. (No spoilers–you must read the book yourself!)
"I felt I would be able to read this story without tearing up or laughing out loud. I was wrong! There is pathos and humor that fits perfectly together, and the plot advances seamlessly. What a perfect way to convey so many ideas: love, trust, uncertainty, and growth. The illustrations complement the story, and add that other dimension of having a perfect picture of what the characters look like. The drawings are alternately moving and comic, without being too complicated.
"Want your own copy? Yes, you do. Everyone should read this book."
GOODREADS Review—“A charming, inspiring tale, carrying echoes of Charlotte's Web,… the book is immensely enhanced by its sweet and tender illustrations … and humor.… Ultimately, a well-told tale of a girl and a dog, each of whom grows in self-confidence and self-knowledge.”
STORY MONSTER INK Review —“Martha Ritter has brought us quite a tale of hope and second chances. Inspired by the true story of Tess, a laboratory dog who entered civilization, The Nearly Calamitous Taming of PZ opens to an emotional journey of adjustment. PZ, a beautiful foxhound, has lived her 10 years of life in isolation as a caged breeder dog. With minimal contact and no personal touch or interaction, she has no concept of life beyond her quiet, painful existence. Rescue comes to PZ, and the reader rejoices as the pages turn in our fingers and the words float through our emotions. Life may NOW come to PZ-5934. But it isn’t long before we realize life is frightening to her. She has never felt the ground under her feet, a leash upon her neck, or the breezes of the outdoors upon her face. She is scared and has no understanding of what is happening to her. PZ is delighted when she connects with a lively Ladybug who can explain the new world to her and lead her through the adjustments. She never had a friend before, and found its company calming, bringing a sense of hope. Her journey through is met with kind and caring people and opportunities to transform out of the past and into the joys of a future. Brokenness can find healing and fear can find hope if one can dare to press beyond the unknown and adjust. PZ is able to find all the things she was lacking, and finds her special place in the warm love of a young girl. I enjoyed this story. It brings waves of hope, peace, and joy over the troubled emotions of brokenness. I believe much can be gleaned for hearts experiencing the rocky road of adjustment themselves."
A SAMPLING OF AMAZON REVIEWS—
—A BOOK FOR ALL AGES: “It's not what you think! This is a book for all ages! I couldn't put it down and I am 75 years old. This book is a real gem. There is a wonderful way of writing that makes you feel every emotion an animal can have.... For me to keep reading a book at 12 o'clock at night is unheard of, with tears rolling out of my eyes, and also laughing out loud.”
—THUMBS UP!-FROM A KID: “You can really sense what the characters are going through. There are adventures and exciting situations while PZ explores the real world for the first time. This will keep you hooked.... The characters are pretty unique and bring some funny and interesting spice to the story.... After reading this book you might even want to rescue your own dog!”
—A LOVELY, WISE BOOK: “It’s funny, poignant, accurate emotionally, and it touches so many elements of life for dogs and people.... Wounded creatures and people really can help heal one another.... Ritter knows how this works, and not only that, its’ a good read....”
—THE POIGNANT BOND: “Martha Ritter has illuminated in poignant fashion the deep bond we have with the dog world, our most ancient ‘best friends.’”
—TAILS UP FOR A GOOD TALE!: “The ‘lessons’ this book offers are subtle and woven artfully into the story.”
—MOVING, AUTHENTIC PORTRAIT OF A GIRL AND A DOG, LEARNING TO TRUST AND GAIN SELF-KNOWLEDGE: “In the course of this story, the reader discovers the power of friendship, the triumph of hope over fear, and the interconnection of trust and love.”