Category Archives: Animals / Pets

Review: Love You S’More

Title: Love You S’More
Author: Melinda Lee Rathjen
Illustrator: Rob McClurkan
Publisher: WorthyKids
ISBN: 978-1-5460-0215-4

“You really are special – it’s you I adore! And however it’s measured, I love you s’more,” Melinda Lee Rathjen writes in her children’s book, Love You S’more.

~ What ~
This twenty-page oversized board book with rounded corners targets children one to four years old who love to be told how much they are loved. With no scary scenes, contains sophomoric illustrations that will keep the attention of little ones. An easy-to-read font covers the pages.

This short story involves two raccoons who compete to see who loves the other more, correlating it to eating iconic s’mores made out of graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate and camping. As the two critters sit in front of a fire in the forest and toast their treat, they debate about their love for one another.

~Why ~
This is a cute tale that families can easily gravitate to if they are into camping and sitting around a fire. I liked the rhyming format that included keeping warm, melted marshmallows, sweet chocolate, and how the crackers hug together, just like the two animals. It also mentions trees, the large moon, a grizzly bear, and that they both win the contest about love.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like repetitive wording in books may want to skip this one that repeats “I love you s’more” on almost every page. Others may not like the huge eyes of the raccoon, as they may scare some young ones.

~ Wish ~
It would be nice to have the illustrations show less of the emotions in the raccoons’ eyes, but if a child is concerned or frightened, an explanation could be given about these interesting looking creatures.

~ Want ~
If you want a book that reminds young ones how much they are loved, this one is spot on, especially if you enjoy eating s’mores in the forest.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, WorthyKids, and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Hachette #WorthyKids #LoveYouSmore #MelindaLeeRathjen #RobMcClurkan

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/38F6ulk

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Childrens, Fiction

Special Spots

Title: Special Spots
Author & Illustrator: Kelly Artieri
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-649492333

“We should never be mean to anyone just because they are different or can’t learn as fast as others, even when they have tails,” Taylor explains in Kelly Artieri’s children’s book, Special Spots.

~ What ~
This forty-eight-page paperback targets children ages three to nine years old. With no scary scenes, it focuses on a young girl who takes care of a deaf dog. The end of the book contains five discussion questions with comments and the author/illustrator’s biography.

In this tale, Taylor and her family adopt an adorable dog with special needs. Because the canine is deaf, Taylor gets frustrated with him at times, especially when others make fun of the animal and his challenges. When she learns how to train the dog using sign language and takes him to obedience school where there are other dogs with issues, she learns to be caring and loving of her special pet.

~Why ~
This is a nice book for any young reader who loves dogs, especially those with handicaps. I appreciate promoting accepting animals who are not perfect and need extra care, especially when they have been in shelters and need a forever home.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books about a dog with a disability may not appreciate the read. The background of the pages has muted black spots, which may be distracting and too busy for some children. Beginner readers may have trouble with some of the three- and four-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
Those with ADHD or over-stimulation issues may not like all the spots on every page.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that promotes compassion and caring for animals including those with special needs, this is a lovely story for elementary-school-aged children.

Thanks to Elk Lake Publishing and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ElkLakePublishing #SpecialSpots #KellyArtieri #SpecialNeedsDogStory

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/3OFWZme

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Benny Learns a Lesson

Title: Benny Learns a Lesson
Author: Cheryl Rae Johnson
Illustrator: Courtney Smith
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-649491398

“Benny loved his forever family, and now he knew he could do all things through Christ too,” Benny realizes about God in Cheryl Rae Johnson’s children’s book, Benny Learns a Lesson.

~ What ~
The second book of the Benny the Dachshund series, this thirty-eight-page paperback targets children ages three to nine years old who like stories about a dog who learns Christ can help him with all things. With no scary scenes, it focuses on a dachshund who is worried and afraid he has to do something. The end of the book contains the author’s and illustrator’s biographies.

This tale is about Benny the canine who is adopted by his forever family, who happens to include Holly, a young girl who has to visit the doctor. As both the dog and child pray to God not to be scared, they both learn an important lesson about trusting God. With simplistic, colorful illustrations on the left side of the pages, the right sides have the story in a decent size font.

~Why ~
This series is spot on by having both an animal and child praying to God for help, especially when it involves doing something that makes them apprehensive. I love how Holly’s mother promotes trusting in God to help as He is always with us.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not approve of a book that encourages praying to and trusting God. Others may not like that a dog thinks he can do anything with God’s assistance as the creature is not a true Christian believer. Beginner readers may have problems with some of the longer sentences.

~ Wish ~
I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence. A made-up word written several times may confuse new readers.

~ Want ~
If your child has to do something necessary but feels uncomfortable having to do it, this story may help them focus on Christ taking care of them instead of dwelling on the issue or outcome.

Thanks to Elk Lake Publishing and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ElkLakePublishing #BennyLearnsALesson #CherylRaeJohnson #CourtneySmith #ICanDoAllThingsThroughChrist

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/3LfXT6M

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Papa Loves You, Tiny Blue

Title: Papa Loves You, Tiny Blue
Author & Illustrator: Jo Empson
Publisher: WorthyKids
ISBN: 978-1-5460-0221-5

“Some questions are so big we will never know the answer. Now, good night, Tiny Blue. I love you,” Papa tells the penguin in Jo Empson’s children’s book, Papa Loves You, Tiny Blue.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page oversized hardbound with a matching jacket targets children three- to six-year-olds who love to learn about penguins and how they live and love. With no scary scenes except the suggestion that seals eat penguins, its beautiful watercolor illustrations and easy-to-read font cover the pages. The inner flap jacket contains the book’s description and the author’s biography.

This charming story involves a little penguin named Tiny Blue who idolizes his father by repeatedly asking him questions. As they walk on the seashore, stand on rocks, swim in the deep water, watch a sunset, and settle to sleep in their nest, the parent answers many questions about the age of the ocean, why penguins cannot fly, what jellyfish are, what is the biggest fish, and other interesting questions. When the father is asked if he knows everything, the dad says nobody does but that he loves him, which is the biggest mystery of all.

~Why ~
This is a heartfelt story as it not only contains interesting facts about animals that live in the sea but also how a little one completely trusts his parent to be told the truth. I love the amazing artwork that is beautiful and engaging for all ages. The story is tender in how it promotes love is a mystery that cannot be explained, but we know when we love someone else.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like large books with oversized artwork may want to pass on this read, but they would be missing out. A few may think the little one’s questions go unanswered, but three of them are explained after the story ends with a question to the reader if there are others to ask. Beginner readers may have trouble with the three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
It would be nice if other animal stories were written in this format that would include both educational information and an underlining theme of love, hope, or kindness.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a beautiful book that will be cherished by young ones, this one that explains penguins and the sea plus promotes a bond between a parent and child would be an excellent choice.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, WorthyKids, and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Hachette #WorthyKids #PapaLovesYouTinyBlue #JoEmpson #PenguinStoryBookofLove

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3L5HCkz

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Rocco’s Day Out

Title: Rocco’s Day Out
Author: Luann Hamill
Illustrator: Nathalie Lewis
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-649494573

“Thanks to you both
For this special day out.
This is what friendship is truly about,”
the owl tells his friends in Luann Hamill’s children’s book, Rocco’s Day Out.

~ What ~
The third book of the Tales from the Clearing series, this forty-four-page paperback targets children ages three to nine years old. With no scary scenes, it focuses on a home-bound owl taken on an adventure. The end of the book contains the author’s and illustrator’s biographies.

This tale told in rhyme is about Henry and Violet, two friends who want to help Rocco, an injured owl, go on an outing outside. After they strap the bird to the back of a turtle’s shell, the three play and have fun in the fresh air. With quaint, colorful illustrations on the left side of the pages, the right sides have the story in rhyming format.

~Why ~
This is another adorable book in the series that has charming characters and beautifully engaging pictures. I love the depiction of how the animal friends worked together to make Rocco happy and have a special fun-filled day. The fanciful rhyming is perfect in content while being interesting. Although it is part of a series, it is a stand-alone story.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like rhyming books about animal friends and their adventures may pass on this one, but they are missing another lovely read. Others may not like the rhyming format, but it works well with the story. Beginner readers may have problems with some of the three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
There is nothing I would change about this story and am hoping there will be more books added to the series.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for an endearing series of three cute, inquisitive animals and how they care about each other, this one that promotes considering others by helping them enjoy something simple like the outdoors will keep young ones smiling the next time they see a turtle.

Thanks to Elk Lake Publishing and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ElkLakePublishing #RoccosDayOut #LuannHamill #NathalieLewis #TalesfromtheClearing #TurtleRabbitOwlTales

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/3xlu7cD

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Violet’s Fixable Problem

Title: Violet’s Fixable Problem
Author: Luann Hamill
Illustrator: Nathalie Lewis
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-649491893

“All of this time I thought, ‘I am not smart.’
Thank you, my friends, with all of my heart,”
Violet tells Henry and Rocco in Luann Hamill’s children’s book, Violet’s Fixable Problem.

~ What ~
The second book of the Tales from the Clearing series, this forty-page paperback targets children ages three to nine years old. With no scary scenes, it focuses on a rabbit challenged to do something new with the help of friends. The end of the book contains the author’s and illustrator’s biographies.

This tale told in rhyme is about Violet, a homebody bunny who is sad and afraid to tell her friends, Henry the turtle and Rocco the owl, that she cannot perform a simple task. The two dear friends do not make fun of her but help her with her problem, making her happy and eager to try. With quaint, colorful illustrations on the left side of the pages, the right sides have the story in rhyming format.

~Why ~
This is another adorable book in the series that has charming characters and beautifully engaging pictures. I love the depiction of how the animal friends did not make fun of Violet for not being able to do something correctly but willingly helped her solve her dilemma. The fanciful rhyming is perfect in content while being interesting. It can be read as a stand-alone story.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like rhyming books about animal friends and their adventures may pass on this one, but they are missing another lovely read. Others may not like the rhyming format, but it works well with the story. Beginner readers may have problems with some of the three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
There is nothing I would change about this story and am looking for the next one in the series.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for an endearing series of three cute, inquisitive animals and how they care about each other, this one that promotes working together to achieve a goal would be a memorable story for young ones to recall next time they want to help a friend.

Thanks to Elk Lake Publishing and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ElkLakePublishing #VioletsFixableProblem #LuannHamill #NathalieLewis #TalesfromtheClearing #TurtleRabbitOwlTales

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/37KRxx5

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Henry’s Great Adventure

Title: Henry’s Great Adventure
Author: Luann Hamill
Illustrator: Nathalie Lewis
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-951970352

“Thank you, Rocco, for opening my eyes.
I’ve had more adventures than I realized.”
Henry tells his new friend in Luann Hamill’s children’s book, Henry’s Great Adventure.

~ What ~
The first of the Tales from the Clearing series, this forty-six-page paperback targets children ages three to nine years old. With no scary scenes, it focuses on a turtle who loves to read books but wants to experience his own adventure. The end of the book contains the author’s and illustrator’s biographies.

This tale told in rhyme is about Henry, a loveable turtle who leaves his Wonder Place and ventures down a path in the woods, where he meets Violet the rabbit and Rocco the owl. His new friends show him that reading books can be adventurous too. With quaint, colorful illustrations on the left side of the pages, the right sides have four lines each in rhyming format.

~Why ~
This is an adorable book that has charming characters and beautifully engaging pictures. I love the depiction of how the animals act and treat each other. The fanciful rhyming is perfect in content while being interesting to the story.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like rhyming books about three animal friends and their adventures may pass on this one, but they are missing a lovely read. Others may not like the rhyming format, but it works well with the brief story. Beginner readers may have problems with some of the three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
There is nothing I would change about this story and am looking for the next one in the series.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for an endearing series of three cute, inquisitive animals and how they care about each other, this one told as a poem would be a delightful story for young ones to cuddle up with at bedtime.

Thanks to Elk Lake Publishing and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ElkLakePublishing #HenrysGreatAdventure #LuannHamill #NathalieLewis #TalesfromtheClearing #TurtleRabbitOwlTales

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/3E5A92c

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Return to Blueberry Street

Title: Return to Blueberry Street
Author: Debbie Burton
Illustrator: Mickey Leonard
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-649490476

“I need to help Freddy, but Henry won’t let me near him. What can I do?” Buddy wonders in Debbie Burton’s children’s book, Return to Blueberry Street: Tails of Blueberry Street Book Two.

~ What ~
This seventy-four-page paperback targets children ages six to nine years old. With no scary scenes, it focuses on a young beagle named Buddy who wants to solve a crime while helping a monkey. The end of the book contains five discussion questions, an explanation about rhesus macaque monkeys, and the author’s biography.

The second in the series, this tale centers on a rescue canine who meets two monkeys while camping in Florida and later sees one of them in his neighborhood. When dog treats consistently go missing, the furry animal and his friends race against a bully to find the culprit. Once the porch bandit is found, lessons are learned about kindness, teamwork, and protecting wildlife.

~Why ~
This is another nice ten-chapter book for any young reader who loves a mystery involving dogs, especially beagles. I love how the writer pegs the breed as one who is led by its nose, loves to eat, and is stubbornly determined. The story explains beagles’ personalities, monkeys living in the wild, and neighbors who work together to solve a problem. With the return of a bully from the prior book, the ending includes learning to deal with jumping to conclusions and fairness.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books about dogs solving thefts may have no interest in this one. I found the story a little choppy to read with too many animals and pet owners involved. Beginner readers may have trouble with some of the three- and four-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
While I appreciated this being a chapter book for the targeted age group, I found the different fonts to delineate speakers confusing and disruptive.

~ Want ~
If you liked the first story about Buddy the beagle, elementary-school-aged children will enjoy this addition but may be distracted by the complicated font styles.

Thanks to Elk Lake Publishing and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ElkLakePublishing #DebbieBurton #MickeyLeonard #ReturntoBlueberryStreet #BuddytheBeagleSolvesACrime

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3IEj9B3

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Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street

Title: Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street
Author: Debbie Burton
Illustrator: Jenny Laskowski
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-950051229

“Jen’s right. I won’t give up. I want to beat Blitz at the next derby. I’ll show him,” Buddy determinedly declares in Debbie Burton’s children’s book, Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street.

~ What ~
This sixty-four-page paperback targets children ages six to nine years old. With no scary scenes, it focuses on a young beagle named Buddy who is determined to fully recuperate after having surgery. The end of the book contains five discussion questions, an explanation about the story, and the author’s and illustrator’s biographies.

Based on a true story, this debut tale centers on a rescue canine and how his new owners brought him home and taught him to listen and obey. When he breaks the rules and gets seriously injured, his surgery slows the animal down. Only with hard work and determination does the dog learn a lesson not only about obedience but also about friendship with another dog.

~Why ~
This is a nice ten-chapter book for any young reader who loves dogs, especially beagles. I love how the writer pegs the breed as one who is led by its nose, loves to eat, and is rewarded for doing the right thing. The story is tender in how the dog’s owners do everything in their willpower to help cure the injured dog including surgery, water therapy, and physical exercises. With the underlying tone of dealing with a bully, the ending is thoughtful and helpful by showing care and concerns for others instead of retaliation.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books about a dog being injured and healing may not appreciate the read. Since we had a beagle who jumped off our bed and had to be put down immediately due to its tragic injury, the story was sad to read as I recalled our furry friend going through some of the same experiences. Beginner readers may have trouble with some of the three- and four-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
While I appreciated this being a chapter book for the targeted age group, I wish more illustrations were added.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that promotes determination and spirit while dealing with an injury and a bully, this is an ideal story for elementary-school-aged children.

Thanks to Elk Lake Publishing and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ElkLakePublishing #DebbieBurton #JennyLaskowski #BuddytheBeagleonBlueberryStreet #DogInjuryRecoveryStory

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/36tBUtY

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A Penguin’s Quest


Title: A Penguin’s Quest
Author: Scott McDermott
Illustrator: Christine Anderson
Publisher: Noble Kids Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-7333548-5-1

“There must be a way for me to fly. But how?” the little penguin asks herself in Scott McDermott’s children’s book, A Penguin’s Quest.

~ What ~
This jacketed forty-page hardbound targets children ages five to seven years old who like fun stories about penguins and other creatures. With no scary scenes, it promotes that if one puts determination and resolve in a project, the goal can be accomplished. Colorful full-page and black-and-white illustrations cover the open pages with an easy-to-read font.

This original tale has an Antarctican penguin named Ingrid who wants to learn to fly. When she meets two wayward pigeons, they tell her they know of a bird in New York that can teach her. She hops on a ship, meets a boss, gets help at a train station, and ends up in the snow, where she is taught the art of jumping. When the bird returns home, she shows her colony how to fly and keep penguin traffic down.

~Why ~
This is a refreshing story that both kids and adults will like. It is told in a charming way that endears the reader to a polite and persistent bird who keeps trying to reach her goal. I loved how it not only teaches to keep at it when wanting something, but that it also contains fun facts about penguins, pigeons, rats, and skiing.

~ Why Not ~
Young ones who are challenged by long stories may not like this book. There are two- and three-syllable words beginner readers may have trouble pronouncing.

~ Wish ~
I wish the story were a little shorter, but it could be read over several nights at bedtime. There are a few punctuation errors and words spelled incorrectly on purpose that may confuse readers.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a fun, silly, and engaging story to read about a penguin reaching her objective, this is one that belongs on a nightstand or bookcase so it can be read and enjoyed often.

Thanks to Bookpleasures and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Bookpleasures #NotableKidsPublishing #APenguinsQuest #ScottMcDermott #ChristineAnderson

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3pfMsD8

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