Monday, July 14, 2014

Shelter Pet Squad

A new series ideal for readers and listeners in grades K-4, and for all the kids out there who have empathy and love for animals and treasure and count on their own pets (stuffed or alive). The animal shelter setting and the perspective of the animals hoping for their forever homes is presented through the eyes of Suzannah. Like Suzannah (and many other kids), my early memories of wanting something with all my heart and soul, revolved around a pet. Any kind of pet that had fur and whiskers would do. And also like Suzannah, my stuffed animals helped fill that yearning the best that they could. As always, Cynthia's main character brings a strong sense of purpose and conviction. They have something important to unravel and make better, modeling solutions that we all can relate to in some way. I appreciate how the story starts with a problem of wanting a pet in the first few pages, leading to a solution of joining a pet squad at a local shelter. The story moves on to model several other hoops and hurdles for the characters to navigate through. I predict this being read by students - having them connect to their own local animal shelters and forming their own Shelter Pet Squad. Cynthia has set the platform for bringing this text to life. I'll add the illustrations are a nice addition, offering vignettes that allow for the viewers personal visualization of the whole and welcomes the readers and listeners in. Cynthia added some features at the end of the book, Facts about Guinea Pigs, Ways to Help your Local Shelter, and even a photo of her own adopted Guinea Pig, Cookie!  I wonder what animal will take the spotlight in book 2...a bunny...mouse?

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Zoo Box

Because I did not read the description before diving in, I was joyfully amused at the unraveling twist of the humans being the animals in cages (mowing the lawn or playing basketball), while the zoo visitors were various animals (polar bear, alligator, bald eagle) taking photos, eating popcorn, and watching the humans in their "natural" habitats. What starts with two curious siblings left alone and a box in the attic (displaying a Do Not Open warning), the reader gets swooped up in the excitement of an adventure that requires an imagination and love for animals! I appreciate the art work and the graphic novel format. I love the balance of text and art and how this story is 52 pages long. This story could be used to model elements of a story with older readers or best of all, be enjoyed for reading pleasure for any graphic novel fan age 5-adult.