Purple Pup by Karl Steam

The Synopsis:

Lav and his friends are the first of their kind, genetically modified to be wonderful pets. They quickly teach the humans that modifying DNA is easy, compared to controlling the animals that are created. Join the adventures that help them discover where they belong in this world, and what they are meant to do.

If you enjoy stories that are told from an animal’s perspective, this should be at the top of your reading list. Purple Pup is one of those special books that you will always remember.

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


Purple Pup

Genetically enhanced puppies with DNA to save thousands of people. Does their outcome triumph over the methods used to create these laboratory pets?

I have mixed emotions about this book. On one hand, I love the adventure, the characters, the thought that went into the book, and especially the uniqueness of the story. For a middle grade audience, it was nice to read a book that encouraged the readers to ask “what is right and what is wrong?”. I also LOVED that when the animal characters referred to their ancestors, they always referred to their “Creator” instead of the evolutionary processes of just happening into life.

However, some of the themes and aspects of the storyline seemed a bit advanced for the targeted audience. For example, there were mentions of breeding amongst the animal characters and even a scene in which two of the dogs discuss “their responsibility” to the lab and the male violently attacks the female when she refuses. Nothing goes further and there is never a scene showing their “responsibility” happening, however that scene could be a potentially heavy topic in some families who have dealt with rape (because let’s be honest, middle graders know what breeding means). This also leads to the scientists introducing the topic of surrogate surgery for the animals who have refused to mate, which some parents may be reluctant for their middle graders to learn about in their young lives.

*Potential Spoiler* The last topic that I was surprised to see included in this book was the scientific experiments taking place on human infants (to help children with terminal illnesses). The book does mention that the actions are illegal in the US, yet the human characters are going through with it anyway. There’s also a scene in which the doctor is “sneaking” the child back to its parents in the dead of night after sedating the infant to keep quiet. So it’s one of those things that different parents will feel differently about, but in my opinion, that’s a pretty heavy topic to approach with a middle grader. Especially if you have readers who like to talk about their books with their friends. *End of Potential Spoiler*

So overall, I like the story, but I would be reluctant handing it to my 12 year old sister who likes to ask millions of questions and research things for herself. I’m giving it 3 out 5 stars for the intended audience, but older teens may enjoy it a lot more.

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