For Picks of The Litter, a regular book review series, Ranny Green critiques “Crusoe, the Celebrity Dachshund: Adventures of the Wiener Dog Extraordinaire" (St. Martin’s Griffin).
“Totally paw” some the unabashed subject would say about this delightful travelogue/cookbook written in first-person dog speak.
Anyone in the know recognized that this 5-year-old, well-educated Dachshund was already a self-proclaimed “big-deal celebrity” before this whimsical volume was published. Heck, he is the star of his own blog a multi-award winning site and a Facebook notoriety, too.
This much-awaited work by Ryan Beauchesne, an online marketer from Ottawa, Ontario, follows the exploits of Crusoe for a year and is organized in seasons. While the text is engaging, the color photos are what Crusoe could label tantalizing.
Crusoe isn’t lacking in ego as you will recognize in the book’s introductory paragraph: “My name is Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund. ... I was named after Robinson Crusoe for my deep sense of adventure and my natural ability to instill fascination in my adoring fandom.” And his cerebral momentum simply escalates from there.
Crusoe's celebrity status began when he was a year old, won a wiener-dog race, was featured on local TV in Quebec and the rest, as they say, is history, forcing – well, not really forcing him to proclaim: “If my ego hadn’t already gone to my head, it sure has now.”
Crusoe fancies himself on being quite the chef throughout this wittily rendered self-portrait. Here are a few of chapter servings: Steak a la Squirrel & Sweet Potatoes; Coconut Ice Cream; Apple Bacon Pie; Carrot Cupcakes.
Crusoe racks up plenty of air miles with a wide mix of trips from Maine to the Bahamas and an equal variety of activities from skiing to lobster fishing, to duck hunting and assuming a babe magnet role on the Bahamas beaches.
A chapter entitled, “Getting’ My Hair Done,” colorfully epitomizes his true character. When asked by the stylist what kind of look he’s looking for, Crusoe replies, “I’m going for the sex appeal of Bradley Cooper, mixed with the charisma of Barack Obama and the lovely wavy curls of a Golden Retriever. So whatever you can do for me in that regard.” A few pages later, Crusoe is heading home with a bigger ego than ever.
You’ll discover that Crusoe is “renowned for his Halloween costumes” and his Batdog role along with his brother Oakley, who assumes the Robin role. Quickly, Crusoe establishes who’s No. 1, as if there was a doubt, “We’re not your typical superheroes, though – Batdog is motivated by fame and glory, and Robin by brotherly admiration and shiny things.” Donned in colorful uniforms, these roles take them on routine patrols of the city for any “suspicious activity.”
As if there was a doubt, an entire chapter is dedicated to Crusoe’s birthday. In case you’re wondering, it’s Oct. 28, which he would probably prefer you circle on your 2016 calendar. “You should know that my expectations for my birthday grow exponentially each year. At first I was content with just a little cupcake and a single present at home.” Well, that has morphed to a giant surprise gala and who knows what for 2016.
Crusoe wouldn’t want me to divulge much more about this moving portrayal of his wit and wisdom. In Crusoe style, he’s prompting me to tell you, “In the spirit of the holidays, go buy a copy so you can laugh and smile and enjoy some of my nuggets of wisdom. Who knows, it might even encourage you to pencil me in as a presidential candidate next year.”