Paolo, Emperor of Rome

Paolo, Emperor of Rome
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
March 31, 2020
Buy This Book
Paolo the dachshund is trapped. Though he lives in Rome, a city filled with history and adventure, he is confined to a hair salon. Paolo dreams of the sweet life—la dolce vita—in the Eternal City. And then, one day, he escapes! Paolo throws himself into the city, finding adventure at every turn. Join our hero as he discovers the wonders of Rome: the ruins, the food, the art, the opera, and—of course—the cats. Readers will cheer the daring of this bighearted dog, whose story shows that even the smallest among us can achieve great things.

Editor review

1 review
Dog's Eye View of the Eternal City
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Paolo is a dachshund who lives with the owner of a hair salon. Although the sights, sounds, and smells of Rome occasionally waft through the door, freedom is elusive. Signora Pianostrada doesn't even want Paolo to look through the glass too closely, lest it get smudged. One day, a customer leaves the door open, and he is off. There are sites to see, cafes to frequent, and other creatures to meet. Unfortunately, one of these creatures, a cat, wants to fight with Paolo and even scratches his face, but Paolo holds his own and sends the cat packing. He also challenges dogs when they give him a hard time for being on "their street", and they are so impressed with his spunk that they make him their leader. For a time, after rescuing some nuns from the Trevi Fountain, Paolo even lives in a posh apartment in the Vatican, but the lure of liberty is too strong, and he once again sets off for freedom.
Good Points
The illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful, and remind me vaguely of Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeleine, the Rey's Pretzel, or perhaps Paul Galdone or Margaret Bloy Graham. The color palette and feeling of movement on the page has a very 1960s quality.

Paolo's desire for freedom from the hair salon is understandable, and it's good to see him make friends with other dogs, but I still felt like he should have made a stronger group of friends, something along the lines of Willems' Diva and Flea. Still, he makes a valid point that "Walls are walls, even when the are papered in gold and hung with Caravaggios"!

The real star of this book is the city of Rome, and anyone who has visited or dreams of doing so will enjoy this virtual tour of ancient cites, the opera, back streets, and plenty of cafes.
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