First off, the illustrations in this book are some of the best I've ever seen. They are quirky and cute and so memorable... everything a children's book is supposed to be. The writing is hilarious, the characters lovable (except for the dad!), and what is there to say about Walter but that I LOVE HIM? If I were the renaming sort, I would rename my beagle "Walter" -- haha! My big complaint about the book is that the family only decided to keep the poor dog in the end because he saved them from the thieves. If he hadn't done that, back to the pound he would have gone. I really wish children's books would teach that pets, like children, deserve our love; they shouldn't have to work for it.