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The Problem with the Puddles

Illustrated by Tricia Tusa



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About The Book

What if your parents agreed to disagree?

Eight and a half years ago, when their beautiful baby girl was born, Mr. and Mrs. Puddle couldn't agree on what to name her. So Mrs. Puddle calls her daughter Emily and Mr. Puddle calls her Ferdinanda. And everyone else? They call her Baby.

Having parents who agree to disagree does mean twice as many presents on your birthday, but it can complicate your life! There was the time Baby's parents couldn't agree on what kind of dog to get -- so they got two, both named Sally. One summer day, when rushing back to the city from their country house, the Puddles leave the Sallys behind. Will the Puddles agree to go back? What will become of the Sallys?

Kate Feiffer's debut novel is by turns funny, heartwarming, and wholly satisfying. Tricia Tusa's pleasing artwork makes the Puddles' world complete.

Let the Puddle family into your heart. You will be glad you did.

About The Author

Photo Credit:

Kate Feiffer is a writer, a filmmaker, and a mother. She is the author of the picture books No Go Sleep!; President Pennybaker; But I Wanted a Baby Brother!; The Wild, Wild Inside; Which Puppy?; My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life; and Double Pink; and of the middle-grade novels Signed by Zelda and The Problem with the Puddles. She lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Photograph by a bird in a tree in the Luxembourg gardens in Paris.

Tricia Tusa has illustrated numerous acclaimed picture books, including In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck, Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden by Edith Pattou, and the New York Times bestsellers The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan and Fred Stays with Me by Nancy Coffelt. She lives with her family in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (February 24, 2009)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416949619
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

"The Problem with the Puddles is a blast from first page to last. My only complaint is that I didn't write it!" -- Sara Pennypacker, author of Clementine

"As far as I'm concerned, the only problem with the Puddles is that there aren't enough books about them. Now that I've actually met this eccentric family and their adventurous dogs, now that I've lived in their damp and wonderful world, now that I can actually see them, thanks to Tricia Tusa's marvelous drawings, I can't get enough of them. So hop to it, Kate Feiffer.... The world needs more Puddles!" -- Nick Bruel, author of Bad Kitty

"'ROMP: to play or frolic in a lively, boisterous manner.' That's what we have right here. Take one endearing, exasperating family, two cozily canny canines, a plot that insists on going where you least expect it to, and just enough outrageous wordplay and you have as much fun as you can handle." -- Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth

This capricious novel marks Feiffer's (President Pennybaker) move into middle-grade fiction, in a story about a family that, for some reason, attracts clouds ("It was as if the cloud suddenly forgot it was heading to a hurricane in Florida or an important blizzard in Canada"). Additionally, the Puddle parents disagree on everything: one of their children is called Baby because they couldn't choose a name. And since the couple squabbled over a breed, the Puddles have two dogs-both named Sally. Alternating between the perspectives of the two- and four-legged family members, the story reveals what happens when the Puddles inadvertently leave "the Sallys" behind at the end of a long vacation in the country. The kid-friendly humor ("Just like meat loaf is like a loaf of meat, a conundrum is like a drum of conun," one of the Sallys "explains," as the dogs consider what to do), the full cast of eccentric characters and Tusa's (Fred Stays with Me!) lively b&w spot art should readily win fans for the Puddle family. --

– Publishers Weekly

"The kid-friendly humor … the full cast of eccentric characters and
Tusa’s lively b&w spot art should readily win fans for the Puddle family.” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

Awards and Honors

  • Bank Street Best Books of the Year

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More books from this author: Kate Feiffer

More books from this illustrator: Tricia Tusa