The story is about young Ishan Mehra, who desperately wants a dog, but his mother is adamantly against having a dog in the house. Ishan tries making aloo parathas for breakfast to butter up his parents, but he makes a big mess of things and sets off the smoke alarm. His mother helps him with the dough that he made, though, and together they manage to make some edible parathas. What follows is a series of other misadventures where Ishan tries to do something nice that turns out horribly or simply does something that he doesn't quite understand as inappropriate. Along the way, he tries to conscript his older brother Sunil to help with convincing their mother to let them have a dog, despite the no-dogs-allowed rule, but Sunil is too much of a rule follower to be of much help.
The book is fun, and the illustrations are wonderful black-and-white drawings in a semi-realistic mode (like the cover) that capture well particular situations and especially the facial expressions of the characters.
Although the story deals with a fairly common experience in families in the United States--the young kids pleading for a dog--there are definitely aspects of Ishan's Indian Americanness that surface in his adventures, as when he encounters his neighbor Danny who deliberately mispronounces his name to antagonize him and when he goes with his parents to an Indian party with aunties and uncles everywhere. There are also little moments where Sheth inserts commentary about Indian American experiences such as Ishan's noting that his parents want him to practice speaking Hindi at least half an hour each day so that he doesn't forget the language.