Baymo by Seth C. Kadish
Publisher: LadyBee Publishing
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (74 pages)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
“Baymo” is the story of a young dog who longs for the freedom and excitement of human life without comprehending the responsibility and worries that go along with such a life. Through a bit of magic from Father Moon, Baymo’s wish comes true – he becomes a man – but his subsequent misadventures teach him that being a man has its price.
But he was a man, a man, a man! Baymo was in a state of bliss, filled with joy and radiant. He stood, he fell, he pushed himself back up again. Tottered, veered, spun, teetering, toppling, a spinning top, out of control, overcome with pleasure.
He was so involved in this new game that he did not notice Spike enter the yard. The little pug stared at him with pop eyes, amazed at the sight of a tall, wobbly, naked, golden-haired man, wearing a grin, weird noises bursting out of his mouth. Spike was so startled by the bizarre apparition that he forgot to be scared.
That is, until the naked man took a step towards Spike and smiled. Spike gave a nervous bark. What to do? And where was Baymo to tell him what to do? Where was his best friend, the golden dog?
Baymo teetered and tottered toward Spike, croaking with pleasure at his newfound manhood. To his amazement, the little dog raced back to the safety and sanity of his house, an escapee from the clutches of the horrible stranger.
If wishes were dog bones, Baymo’s stomach would be filled to the brim.
Strong character development is one of the most important things I look for when reviewing a book. I love connecting with the protagonist so deeply that I feel like I’m experiencing their world alongside them. Baymo amused me from the beginning, but it was the way he reacted to everything that happened to him that captured my attention. He was incredibly well-developed. His personal evolution was so gradual and tied to the plot that I was actually caught off-guard by how much information the author was able to pack into something this length.
The vast majority of the plot seemed perfectly suited for kids in early elementary school, but there were a few scenes that made me hesitate. The violence in them wasn’t graphic, but it happened often enough that I raised my age recommendation by two years. It’s definitely something that should be screened beforehand by parents or teachers. If these scenes had been toned down, I would have chosen a much higher rating for this tale.
This was my first introduction to Mr. Kadish’s work. I enjoyed his storytelling so much that I actually read all of Baymo’s adventures over the course of a single afternoon. While I don’t know if the author has any intention of writing a sequel, there is certainly room here to do so. If he does follow up with these characters again, this reader would be quite curious to see what happens next.
I’d recommend Baymo to dog-lovers of all ages.