Reading The Poky Little Puppy for the zillionth time, I came to a realization: there’s no reason not to be the poky little puppy. At first, one might think that the four other puppies come out ahead in the end since they get the strawberry shortcake, whereas the poky little puppy is sent to bed with no dessert “feeling very sorry for himself”. We’re supposed to come away from this ending thinking how much better it is to keep up with the pack, that being poky is a detriment.
I say that the poky little puppy actually came out ahead overall. The first day, the four puppies ran home hoping for some rice pudding, but they got scolded instead and went to bed with no dessert. The poky little puppy slowly wandered home, presumably having a grand time seeing the world, then ate all of the dessert that his siblings were denied (with no apparent punishment for digging the hole, being late or eating all of the dessert). The same thing happens the second day with the chocolate custard.
The third day, the four puppies were scolded for digging the hole, but then they made it right by filling it back in. Since they had finally learned the lesson of not digging holes under the fence, they were rewarded with strawberry shortcake. The poky little puppy got home too late, so there wasn’t any dessert left nor was he able to express whether he’d learned the lesson or not. Despite having to squeeze through the fence and not having dessert on this third day, the poky little puppy still presumably had a grand time seeing the world while being poky on the way home. He also was not punished in any way other than merely not getting any dessert that night.
To sum up, the first two nights, the poky little puppy got all the dessert in addition to having more time out exploring than his siblings, while his siblings were scolded and got no dessert. The third night, the siblings still got scolded, but at least they got some dessert. The poky little puppy had as much time as he wanted to explore with no obvious penalty for either being poky or digging under the fence.
The book makes it out like the poky little puppy was the sore loser in the end, but I say, overall, he had more desserts and more fun than his siblings with fewer consequences. I’m also pretty sure that even if he had been scolded, he still came out ahead what with all the wandering and exploring he was able to do while his siblings were home feeling sad about not getting any dessert. Wandering, daydreaming, especially when you’re young. How can that be so wrong?