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Illegal Beagle


Loved it! šŸ˜

This rhyming, rhythmic story about a dog who loathes being left home without his owner is a funny and charming Storytime pick.

Buttercup Beagle is his owner Jillā€™s pride and joy, and he is content and well-behaved when she is home. However, the moment Jill leaves Buttercup behind with only the cat and fish for company, the pup transforms into a version of himself that destroys everything he can reach. When Jill returns to find her home in disarray, her disappointment is palpable, and Buttercup must find a way to help Jill understand the depth of his loneliness when she is away.

This silly and heartwarming story is presented delightfully, both in visual and textual form. Written in a rhyming scheme that matches an aabccb pattern, readers are carried through the story with a rhythm that even creeps into their bodies. With only half of a stanza shown on each page, readers find ample white space and opportunity to observe the illustrations. The text is presented in varying colors, fonts, and sizes to add to the visual appeal of the book. Incorporated into the text is fun and unexpected vocabulary, increasing the range of young readersā€™ verbal comprehension.

Entertaining illustrations enhance readersā€™ understanding of Buttercupā€™s story. Using primarily earth-toned hues, Jill is depicted as living alone and her home appears clean and comfortable. Myriad designs are found on the floor and walls and add dimension to her space. Buttercupā€™s transformation is obvious in the illustrations, as is Jillā€™s demeanor when she returns home to find the destruction left in Buttercupā€™s wake. Perhaps the most entertaining element is the series of expressions shown on the face of the cat who is observing Buttercupā€™s behavior and its aftermath. Readers familiar with cats will appreciate the many things the cat appears to be saying without using any words at all.

This book is an excellent addition to Storytime collections for young children as it is perfectly designed to be read aloud. Children will appreciate the sing-song rhyming style and will enjoy examining the illustrations on their own, as well. Whether readers have pets or not, they will connect with Buttercupā€™s behavior even as a reflection of their own feelings when left without a parent.

Reviewed by

I review books for kids, tweens, and teens and blog about them on my website. To date, I have over 500 published reviews. Sign up for my monthly newsletter at to get recommendations straight to your inbox! I primarily write reviews, but will create video reviews upon request.


A picture book so full of adventure, laughs, and rhyming funā€¦it should be, well, illegal!

Meet Buttercup: heā€™s a well-behaved beagle and really quite regal! But some days, when his owner Jill is away, this precocious pup begins to playā€¦He growls! He barks! He eats all the shoes! He teases the cat and turns cushions to chews! But mischief gets noticed, and that is factā€¦so what happens when this troublemaker is caught in the act?

Through endearing humor and lighthearted illustrations, Sandra Ourique Gonsalves brings one canineā€™s clandestine adventures to life in Illegal Beagle: a touching tale that reminds us about the importance of building (and sometimes rebuilding) trust with those we love most. Perfect for readers big and small, this book will delight and bring smiles to all.

About the author

Sandra loves to rhyme! "Illegal Beagle" is her first childrenā€™s book, which has been rigorously reviewed (and unanimously acclaimed) by her four resident editors-in-chief, also known as The Kids. Sandra is usually on the lookout for laughs, story inspiration, or a word that rhymes with ā€œpurple.ā€ view profile

Published on May 17, 2021

Published by

0-1000 words

Genre: Picture Books

Reviewed by