Joyful Trouble in my handbag

Joyful Trouble

Patricia Furstenberg





I jumped aboard a fast paced, fun story and travelled back to my childhood.  The Great Dane, Joyful Trouble, didn’t need a ticket and neither did I, but I packed plenty of imagination.  Like Ana and Tommy, I sat beside my grandfather and listened to the ‘dog–faring tale’. I snuggled into my armchair: luxuriated in the heart-warming story, packed up my troubles and followed ‘the special dog’ called Joyful Trouble.  I was placed in the ‘middle of the action’ with the ‘very clever dog’.

This charming story of a ‘fine dog’ is based on the true story of ‘Just Nuisance’ – a dog enlisted by the Royal Navy.  Both the real and fictitious adventurers hail from Simon’s Town, in South Africa.  But the spirit of the dog is brought to life by the author’s lively storytelling.  I fell in love with the enthusiastic puppy and wanted to know how he got his name.  I laughed out loud at the scene where the dog sat in the Commander in Chief’s chair.  I applauded the dog when he received his seaman’s cap.

Besides entertaining, the story also educates children about how to deal with difficult situations.  The story shows children that ‘Determination and faith …will always get you through the tough times.’  Joyful Trouble’s friends must ‘work together’ to resolve a problem thus exploring the importance of teamwork to neutralise conflict. Despite his reputation, Joyful Trouble is a good role model as he ‘didn’t like to see people fighting’. As Ana listens, she is comparing the dog to a younger sibling and learning to understand his exuberant behaviour.

Once the story was completed, I thought of the sailors stepping over the dog, and I laughed. Then I remembered that:

‘The little girl laughed and the old man laughed and the stars and the moon and all the stuffed toys at the foot of the bed laughed.’

Children will lose themselves in the story while also learning about key qualities and the cycle of life.  Maybe parents will be forced to pack a picnic, the book and read the story with their children beside a rambling river.  Parents may even be convinced to buy their children a dog…

The story could be narrated to young children or read independently by older children.  The story is ideal to use as a springboard to discuss positive values and to emphasise understanding when dealing with younger siblings.

Patricia Furstenberg is presenting a guest post tomorrow and introducing her trio of new books: ‘The Lion and the Dog’, ‘The Elephant and the Sheep’, ‘The Cheetah and the Dog’.  I am excited to be hosting the cover reveal of these children’s books tomorrow.

More about the author, Patricia Furstenberg

Patricia Furstenberg is the author of the Bestseller Joyful Trouble, Based on the True Story of a Dog Enlisted in the Royal Navy.

Patricia enjoys writing for children because she can take abstract, grown-up concepts and package them in a humorous, child-friendly language and attractive pictures, while adding sensitivity and lots of love. She enjoys writing about animals because she believed that each animal has a story to tell, if we only stop to listen.

Her latest illustrated children’s books are: Puppy: 12 Month of Rhymes and Smiles, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog, The Cheetah and the Dog.

Patricia lives in sunny South Africa with her husband, children and their dogs.
Author Website:

Huffington Post SA



Please see all my reviews at Books In Handbag and my blog at


2 thoughts on “Joyful Trouble in my handbag”

  1. What a fantastic review! Thank you for your time and energy,Jessie! I am honored to be featured on your blog, along such wonderful authors! You’re a gracious host and an enthusiastic an creative book blogger!

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