Sunday, November 24, 2019

Movie Review: Baxter (white bull terrier, a terror!)

Baxter (French with subtitles), 1989, 82 minutes, rated PG but certainly no children’s film

Ah, Baxter, that dark white dog film. I had vacillated, wanting to and not wanting to watch this film for a couple of years, but it is hard to find and the film professor at my college kept forgetting to look for her copy to lend to me. So, imagine my backhanded delight when it appeared on the schedule for our college fall film festival – this year, French films (a second language of mine). Should I see it or not, being such a dog lover that I am.

A Dark Plot

I knew it was a dark, possibly chilling film from a while back and knew the story of a dog talking about living with a weak elderly woman he doesn’t like so he attempts to kill her but fails (her health does fail though and she eventually passes away), to then go to live with the cute couple across the street only to fail at killing their toddler, so he is finally given to a dark Hitler-loving boy who commands and controls him. Finally Baxter has found a master he can look up to! (But where are the parents in the film? There, but not there?)

Enjoying a Film When You Already Know the Plot

One can know what a film is about and still enjoy it to death if the film is not only all about plot but also about character development, panoramic scenery, surprise hidden snippets, or actors one favors (I see everything starring Julia Roberts). Consider Apollo 13 or Titanic or Bonnie and Clyde.

I am not sure I enjoyed Baxter but I want to view it again to catch what I missed.

Night Qualms, Canine Qualms

I still had qualms about seeing a horror film - on a Friday night – it was so easy to stay home, but I forced myself to get up, go out, and go back to the college for the final film of the festival. I found Baxter to be a cutie-pie, which may have interfered with my being horrified during the viewing, like most of the audience was. (It can be difficult to believe that someone so good-looking can be so evil. [Consider Madame Nhu or Imelda Marcos or the Shah of Iran.]) I tend to want my villains to be rather average-looking or even less attractive than average.

Cute Doggie!

Baxter is a white bull terrier, a bullet-snouted breed you may never have seen. If you have, it was probably in a televised dog show. Bull terriers are terribly cute to some (like me!), but still, they are terriers with a mind of their own and not the best family dog for the average family – certainly not like a golden retriever or lab is.

I love bull terriers! So it was a bit hard to be as apprehensive and horrified as most of the audience watching this horror film. Besides, I know how movies can be made to appear bloody and horrific when actually nobody is really hurt in real life. And no dogs are killed – they only appear to be.

What’s it All About, What’s it Mean?

A sociopathic boy, a possibly-sociopathic dog who cannot stop being a dog. There is so much to observe in the short little film. We do not identify with the cute little Fascist boy but, instead, with Baxter. Plenty of food for after-viewing conversation.

I found it to be sunny with dark overtones rather than a movie that would keep me up all night afterwards. Your mileage may vary, your experience may differ.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Boor Review: More Jazzy Tales (kids and dogs and learning and fun)

More Jazzy Tales (all available at

We are so excited we found the Jazzy books. She is such a photogenic little cutie pie of a pup and the stories are simply the best, for learning and for keeping. Some have surprises inside (like the ending of Counting Down Jazzy) and others include challenging puzzle-questions. We hope author-photographer Sonja McGiboney has many more books to come and we thank little Jazzy for being such a patient model. We would love to meet her. She is a very lucky dog.


Why not buy the whole series?

Here are the other Jazzy titles so far (and at the bottom are some of our favorite photos).

Growing up Jazzy
2017, 24 pages, $5.39 now, ages 3 and up, grades 1-2
Grow up with Jazzy, from eight weeks old to her first birthday. Learn the seasons and months along the journey.

Jazzy Time
2018, 28 pages, $5.39 now, ages 3 and up, grades 1-3
A day in the life of a delightful dog named Jazzy

Jazzy Explores the Library
2019, 16 pages, $5.39 now, ages 3 and up, grades 2-3
Here Jazzy discovers squirrels, but they stay put in a book!

Jazzy Explores Smithfield
2019, 26 pages, $7.19 now, ages 3 and up, grades 2-4
Jazzy shows off her hometown in Virginia, the home of the world famous Smithfield hams.

Jazzy wants to read up on Virginia, her home state

Jazzy and Friends
2019, 32 pages, $10, ages 3 and up, grades 1-3
At the dog park, Rain tells Jazzy she can’t play with one dog who doesn’t have a tail and another who has pointy ears. Read what happens on the day Rain doesn’t come to the dog park.

And, don’t forget Jazzy’s Coloring Pages!
Now you can color and keep many of the same pages you saw in the Jazzy books.

 And my ideas for new Jazzy  books:
Jazzy Helps at Home
Jazzy Loves her Family
Jazzy ‘Round the Clock (already published as Jazzy Time)

Jazzy has loved flowers since she was a wee little pupster.

And, who knows, she may just become a Library Dog!

And, just like you I bet, Jazzy loves her stuffies!

(Photo credits: Sonja McGiboney Photography,

Friday, November 22, 2019

Book Review: Little Red Jazzyhood (bullying, dogs)

Little Red Jazzyhood, by Sonja McGiboney (Sonja McGiboney Publishing, 2018, 28 pages, grades 2-3, ages 3 and up, $5.39 [marked down from $8.99] and available from

The Problem

Is Wolf the dog a bully or just scared inside that nobody will ever like him? Can he ever learn to make friends?

The Solution

Maybe Granny and Jazzy can help, along with some delicious bone soup that Granny makes.

Be prepared for funny faces!

What is This Face Saying?

You can read your own copy of Little Red Jazzyhood as author Sonja McGiboney reads to the real Jazzy on YouTube here (

Makes a Wonderful Bedtime Tale

And you know what? Jazzy falls asleep after

Jazzy Falls Asleep after a Great Jazzy Book
listening to her own book! It really works!

How Many Jazzy Books can You Find?

Next: The Rest of Jazzy including Jazzy Explores Smithfield, her hometown. Here is Jazzy posing for the Smithfield book and the after-pose!
Jazzy Posing

After Jazzy Posing
(Photo credits: Sonja McGiboney Photography,

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Book Review; Jazzy Shapes (Jazzy Dog, kids learning shapes)

Jazzy Shapes, by Sonja McGiboney (Sonja McGiboney Publishing, 2019, $8.99 marked down to $5.39, 26 pages, grades 1-2, ages 3 and up, available at

Jazzy the dog illustrates 12 different shapes by posing on the colored shapes themselves - but then comes the fun! Each following page shows Jazzy at home, in action (or lounging on the sofa), surrounded by numerous objects of the same shape like the circles page below.

How Many Circles?

How many shapes can you count and identify?

Jazzy on a Square. Do You Like this One or the JazzySquare on the Cover?

My favorite is Jazzy in front of the staircase with her name in blocks on the stairs behind her. Can you find her name?

You can see this one and the circles page on this webpage and then start to find shapes all over your house!

Next: Little Red Jazzyhood
(Photo credits: Sonja McGiboney Photography,

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Book Review: Counting Down Jazzy (Jazzy the dog, kids, counting backwards)

Counting Down Jazzy: What Will Jazzy Run Off With Next? by Sonja McGiboney (Sonja McGiboney Publishing, 2017, $8.99 marked down to $5.39 for the holidays, 30 pages, grades K-1, ages 3 and up, available at (see the trailer here:

Math Books are Fun

A book about subtraction: your child already knows the poem and can chime in and finish every sentence. Jazzy stars in the video reading by Grandpa ( she makes an appearance at just the right moment to sneak something that appears on the page!

Look for her tail before the tale begins!

Who is Jazzy?

Jazzy is the cute little dog whose mama dog was rescued from a shelter and two days later had nine puppies! Jazzy was the ‘littlest.’ Now she has captured the elementary age group by storm.

Jazzy Puppy
She is a typical puppy dog who thinks running off with things is fun.

Counting Backwards is Fun!

Can you see Jazzy reading in the corner? And I wonder if you can see Jazzy on every single page: you may have to look hard!

Here Jazzy is Reading One of Her Books

Betcha can’t guess the ending to the book or to the video – but they are both perfect!

Next: Jazzy Shapes

(Photo credits: Sonja McGiboney Photography,

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Book Review: Jazzy Colors (dog, kids, learning colors and. . . . )

Jazzy Colors: Learn Colors with Jazzy, by Sonja McGiboney (Sonja McGiboney Publishing, 2019, $8.99 marked down to $7.19 for the holidays, 26 pages, grades 1-3, ages 3 and up, available at See it first here: 

Jazzy Colors is the favorite Jazzy book at our house, hands down. Each month has its own color so your child will learn not only the colors but also the months of the year!

Jazzy Learning the Months

See Jazzy sleeping or eating, dressed up like a "queen in green" or playing on the beach with a blue ball. My favorite is May with Jazzy wearing a golden sombrero that covers all but her nose and one paw.
Peek-a-boo. Is that Jazzy under that hat?

Your child will learn when Christmas comes, and that Valentine’s Day is in the red month of February, and the month your child was born in: perhaps it is black August, yellow September or orange November.

February is for Red Noses!

You can see white January here. Hint: it’s not white for snow.

PS - I don’t think Jazzy likes dressing up very much: check out green March Jazzy and April pink bunny Jazzy in the book Jazzy Colors.

Next: What will Jazzy run off with next? Read Counting Down with Jazzy: The review follows this one.

(Photo credits: Sonja McGiboney Photography,

Monday, November 18, 2019

Book Review: ABC Jazzy (dog, the alphabet - for kids)

ABC Jazzy, by Sonja McGiboney (Sonja McGiboney Publishing, 2017, $8.99 marked down to $5.39 for the holidays, 28 pages, grades K-1, ages 3 and up, available at

The letters of the alphabet have run away to hide. Where will Jazzy find them? Can you guess? Can you help her find each missing letter?

Who is Jazzy?

Jazzy is an adorable little 4-year-old rescue dog adopted as an 8-week-old pup
Puppy Jazzy
in March 2015 from Critters4u Rescue

Jazzy Looking Snazzy
in Hampton, VIrginia. (Whew! that was a mouthful!) 

Can you believe she was once the runt of the litter? Look at her now!

Now Jazzy is old enough to read!

Search and Find

Surrounded by letters on the cover (see above), Jazzy covers her eyes on the first page so the letters can run away to hide from her. Then she has to search, and she finds them in all the best places: Jazzy finds S near the stars on the steps, she finds V in front of the violin, and A in the apple barrel..

And A is for Apple

This is the longest book in the Jazzy series because there are 26 letters! Catch a preview of A, B and C here and also on Jazzy’s homepage here.

You will love helping Jazzy learn her ABC's.

Next: Jazzy Colors: Learn Colors with Jazzy

(Photo credits: Sonja McGiboney Photography,