Sunday, April 4, 2021

Book Review: Buddy's Magic Window (puppy story)

Buddy's Magic Window, by Dennis Glennon (Dennis Glennon Photography, 2020, 48 pages, $19.95)

The face that launched a thousand ships, the pup that launched a thousand books (or book reviews!). . . .

Buddy's Magic Window is a big big, book for little, little kids to hold while they 'read' to their moms and dads, and a book that you will love more and more each time you read it. 

Kids love puppies and will love the young moose pair and the loon baby with its mom and dad, and, of course, the adventures of Puppy Buddy. Parents will love the colors and the striking photography. 

Dennis Glennon, the author, is a professional wildlife photographer who happened upon a litter of golden pups quite by chance* and then . . .  a golden portrait morphed into a cherished book of our family's (and yours).

What is cuter than a golden retriever puppy on the cover of a children's book! Buddy, the pup, is so adorable that all the wee ones will want to hug him (a teaching moment about what dogs like and don't - most do not like hugs). The story is so lifelike with real nature photography and simply perfect colors. . . .

The Wizard of Oz Revisited (Almost)

The cutest little pup in the world is afraid of thunderstorms and so he runs, trying to escape the scary noise, right into the 'foggy forest.' 

Foggy Forest (credit: Dennis Glennon)
Read about Buddy's adventures, his return home, the tales he will tell of his adventures and the animals who meet him along the way: the butterfly, the turtle and frog, loons and a duck, the fox, a chipmunk and a herd of cows, a bluebird and an owl whose words lead Buddy to a barn with a magic window. . . .

And little kids will see themselves in little Buddy who doesn't know his left from his right. 

A Tale of Trust, and Belief, and Faith - and Dreams

A tale of wishes and dreams and never giving up. There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home. . . .

And I love the dedication: "For those who rescue animals."

Caveat: This book was sent to DogEvals for review. 

*To read the story behind the cover that started it all, see

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Book Review: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse (Barnes & Noble Book of the Year, 2019)

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, by Charlie Mackesy (HarperOne, 2019, $22.99, 128 pp) #1 New York Times Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Bestseller, USA Today Bestseller

Small Things Can Make A Huge Difference

At first glance, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse is a lovely little book with pen-and-ink or charcoal illustrations - and lots of them! Almost more drawings than words - some drawings are more complete than others and some are in color - water color drawings by an artist. With music.

"This book is for everyone, whether you are eighty or eight - I feel like I'm both sometimes."

It almost looks like an original book penned just for you. But it is more than just a lovely little book: it was selected by Barnes & Noble to be the Book of the Year for 2019!

I think we all saw this little book in bookstores around the end of the year 2019 and noticed it was BN's selection of the year. I certainly did but did not buy it for it was too expensive for such a little book. I mean, how good could it be? 

Well, it turns out it is so good there is a waiting list for The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse at my county library. When it was finally my turn and I finally read it, I teared up. It is indeed a lovely little book. After I return my copy to the library, I am going to purchase my own copy to have and to hold: that has very rarely happened - that I checked out a book and ended up buying it.

"The truth is, everyone is winging it."

The Boy is such a heart-warmer that I want to keep a copy by my bedside. I will read it when I am sad and lonely and I will read it when I have time to spare and I will read it to my youngsters and their young ones and I will read it to my dog. Over and over. Words to live by. Words to live better by!

A boy meets a mole and they go on a walk in the countryside together. 

"'What do you want to be when you grow up?' 'Kind,' said the boy."

The mole's idea of heaven is cake or the idea of cake but he and the boy ask each other questions about the meaning of life - and answer them. They meet a fox. The mole saves his life and the favor is subsequently returned. The fox is more often than not, silent. And then they meet a horse. 

All four are unique and worthy of our attention - because they exist.

What more could one ask for in this life? 

(The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse is dedicated to the author's dog, Dill. . . . )

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Book Review (OT): The Adventures of Bentley Hippo - Inspiring Children to Share

The Adventures of Bentley Hippo: Inspiring Children to Share, by Argyro Graphy (Bentley Hippo Enterprise Corp.,  2019, 31 pages, $12.95 PB, ages 2-12) (Volume One*) A Family Choice Awards book for 2019.

Bentley, the green hippopotamus with purple tennis shoes, has a monkey 'friend' Jaxon living in a tree who throws bananas down on people. But sometimes the bananas hurt.

The Adventures of Bentley (book one) has lovely green depictions of parks but is not a book a child can easily read alone due to the small print and numerous paragraphs on each page. Perhaps it is meant to be shared and discussed between child and parent.

Bentley is a good hippo, a nice hippo so he invites Jaxon home with him to share some ice-cream and the good deed multiplies - just how, you will have to read the book to find out. But I will tell you that sharing is something that is contagious!

Caveat: This book was sent to me to review.

*Vol. 2: Inspiring Children to Never Give Up (Oct 2020)

Vol. 3: Inspiring Children to be Kind (Nov 2020)

And soon to come:

Inspiring Children to be Patient

Inspiring Children to Accept Each Other

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Book Review: Goodnight Sweet Bear (children's book, stuffies, playing a joke on Mom)

Goodnight, Sweet Bear, by Michelle Milne (Page Publishing, 2020, 34 pages [hardcover], $19.95, ages 3-8)

One night, a little boy can't go to sleep without his 'friends' to hug so he asks his mom to find Puppy. She hunts all over his room and finally spies his puppy for him to sleep with but that little stuffie is not the one named Puppy. So, who is Puppy? And where is Puppy?

Then the little boy needs Monkey. Then he just has to have Squirrel, then he asks for Elephant and Mouse and. . . . But what about the Owl and the Alligator and the Lion and the Moose?

The joke he plays on his Momma is indeed a creative one that he plays on her over and over again.

Written in verse by Michelle Milne who has four boys herself, Goodnight, Sweet Bear, has a cute premise that families will want to copy in their own 'zoos.' The creative plot and full illustrations make up for the contrived rhymes that try hard to work successfully.

Caveat: This book was sent to me for review.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Book Review (OT): Sometimes I Roar! (children's book, 3 yo, anger management)

Sometimes I Roar! (Brody the Lion) by Kristin Wegner (Autism and Behavior Center, 2020, $17.00 paperback, 34 pages, ages 3-8)

Who roars? Lions roar! Even little lions named Brody roar. Or melt down when unexpected things happen.

This little lion is three years old and having a birthday party. He sends invitations to his friends the hippo (Hip), the monkey, the bear (Teddy) and the snake. The day finally comes and the hour of the party comes - and goes - with no friends. "This is not right!" Brody roars. His mom tells him to take a deep breath and count to two - it works. Brody calms down.

The friends do arrive though, bringing presents (one of which is not right) and they sing Happy Birthday but Brody reacts with a big roar because it is just not right - too loud. Both times, Mama told him he knew what to do: take a deep breath and count to two. And it works, again.

Some things bother me and other things bother you. Sometimes they are little things but if we can all remember to take a deep breath and count to two, things will be all right again. 

What a lovely lesson to learn and remember! Thanks, Brody!

And best of all, for parents, are the pages of 'how to use this book for different ages' plus therapeutic tips for families with autism.

Toleration, behavioral regulation, ABA, and unexpected events are also covered for parents and family friends while Brody the little lion demonstrates these for the little ones. 

Caveat: This book was sent to me to review.

Next in the series: I Can Do It, Yes I Can!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Book Review (OT): Where is My Home? (children's book, animal habitats)

Where is My Home? by Lucy Parrianer (WhiteWater Publishing, 2020, 36 pages, $10.38 pb, ages 3-8)

Take a tour through six habitats of the world with their animal inhabitants, some of whom you may not know (no names are given). We don't know who you are, either, until you draw yourself on a page near the end - you could be you, the young reader, or even  your family dog.

Start with animals of the rainforest and meander through the Arctic, the desert, the ocean, the mountain range, and, finally, end up in the woodland.

What is a Habitat?

A habitat is a part of the Earth that provides shelter, food, and water - a suitable environment for only some animals to live in. Several animals are perfectly suited to survive and thrive in the ocean while others can only inhabit the Arctic.

Where is My Home? is a delightful book that explain why a habitat is perfect for one species and not another. The book also has a fun test (if a test can ever be fun!) and pages to draw you in your habitat.

A Book to Use!

When a new habitat is introduced, the pages are fairly empty but following pages are populated with the appropriate animals who chat about why they live there (and why you can't live there very successfully).

And finally, the final page is for the adult, with ideas of how to use the book for activities plus curriculum, spelling, punctuation, and grammar fun along with the author's website (25 more activities and 4 lesson plans).

We LOVE this book!

Caveat: This book was sent to us for review.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Book Review: Dear Mr. Wasn't Me (children's book)

Dear Mr. Wasn't Me, by Laura Jensen-Kimball* (WackyStack Books [self-published], 2020, $19.99, 32 pages, ages 2-10) Also available as a CD. Watch the trailer here.

Mom's four kids won't let her sleep in on Saturday by yelling, "It wasn't me!" so Mom falls out of bed and rushes downstairs to see what's the matter. Her toddler doesn't have any clothes on, her daughter is tied to her bedposts by her sleeves, the dog has peed on the carpet, and the list goes on and on with several 'incidents' on every page to chat about. 

With a summary page of sorts for young readers to recollect about the chaos of the morning and with a twist at the end, you will remember this funny, true book for a long time. 

The story starts when Mom starts a letter to Mr. Wasn't Me and tells him about her day, then ends the book with the letter's end - cute!

And yes, there is a dog (who else would pee on the carpet?) but he is an interesting cat-looking-like dog - or is that the cat?

Caveat: This book was sent to me for review.

*Also the author of Momster. If that doesn't sound scary I don't know what does.