Tag Archives: pets

Maya and Waggers: I Have to Scoop What? by W. T. Kosmos (Book Review)

 Have to Scoop What? is the book series launch of Maya and Waggers!

For generations on Island Nation, the Puddin’ Heads have despised the Sweeties and lived without dogs. But after a shipload of dogs and puppies arrives, the Puddin’ Heads race to buy these creatures despite having no clue how to care for them. When the Union family can’t take their new puppy, Waggers, on a trip, Maya, her best friend Lily, and Waggers stay with Uncle Puddin’ Head. But Lily is a Sweetie, Maya refuses to scoop poop, and her uncle really, really cares about his new lawn. When Maya attempts to lead creative solutions in the strange neighbors’ yards, problems start piling up. For ages 8 and up.

Categories: Children’s Fiction Humor / Pets / Adventure

Themes: dogs, animals, pet care and responsibility, humor, courage, friendship, community and inclusion, critical thinking, growing up, social and environmental awareness

Great for readers who:

– love humorous adventure

– love dogs / pets / animals / nature

– are thinking about getting a dog

– wish their neighbors were more neighborly

– wish more owners would clean up their dog’s poop

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The Sweeties and the Puddin’ Heads have been rivals for a very long time, all because some “numbskull” tricked them into despising one another. The same troublemaker even tricked the Sweeties into wearing blue and Puddin’ Heads red. If you considered yourself “true red Puddin’ Heads,” you didn’t just wear all red; you also only drove red vehicles like Maya’s Uncle Kal. As in present-day society, there will always be individuals who stand up against outdated rules. In this fictional children’s book, the “rebel” would be Maya.

Maya lived on Puddin’ Island, where she was expected to wear red and blue was 100% forbidden. Maya didn’t let anyone tell her what to wear. If she wanted to wear a rainbow-colored outfit, she would and made no apologies for it. She also didn’t judge others by where they lived. In fact, Maya’s best friend, Lily, was from Sweetie Island. 

As the chapter book plays out, Maya and Lily learn the hard way puppies are cute, but boy, do they poop a lot! I laughed out loud when Lily appeared genuinely floored that not only do dogs poop, but many other creatures do as well. Or when Lily questioned if Waggers would turn into something else, like a caterpillar. In her defense, Lily has never seen a dog before. Maya, either, until a shipload of them came to the island. 

I found elements of this story were comical because they were not happening to me. For instance, when Uncle Kal stepped on a poop patch and left a trail of brown footprints that ran up the sidewalk, across the porch, and into the house. Disgusting! I’m also thankful Maya was the one scooping the largest pile of dog poop known to mankind because the experience sounded gross. 

Maya and Waggers: I Have to Scoop What? uses humor to show the stinkier side of owning a dog. They are fun to play with and give pets to, but eventually, they will empty their colon somewhere. Maya and Lily had a great idea to avoid the clean-up process and to appease Maya’s Uncle Kal: have Waggers leave his piles on someone else’s lawn. Mayhem and hilarity ensue as the two girls visit each potential poop location. My favorite neighboring family was the Barkers. They were crazy!

Kids eight years and up will be giggling as they read about Maya’s poop dilemma. Many will relate if they have a canine companion at home and are required to pick up dog turds. If you’re like me, you’ll wish the author included more images, such as snow literally punching and kicking grass and a picture of MegaCorps’s newest invention: grass that fights back! 

Need a good laugh? Read this story!

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:

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Meet the Author

W.T. Kosmos is a humorist author who dives into today’s social absurdities, the boundless depth of human potential, and the infinite wisdom and wonders of the evolving universe. He is the alter ego (pen name) of a life-long educator who has had the great privilege and joy of serving as a teacher and school administrator while collaborating with some of the most fabulous people in the world. W.T. Kosmos lives along the coast of Paradox, USA, Earth, Milky Way and enjoys reading, writing, walking the beach, wrestling with his dogs, and snorkeling with Regal the seahorse. However, his favorite pastime is training as a professional wrestler, which is also his backup plan for improving the world.

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That’s Not a Hat! by Marti Fuerst (Book Review)

 

It’s time to run errands, but Daddy has lost his hat! He tries to find a new hat at each of the stores the family visits, but he can’t seem to get it right.

Predictable and repetitive text makes That’s Not a Hat! accessible and engaging for emerging readers. Simple and colorful illustrations reminiscent of mid-century modern children’s books are sure to make this a favorite.

Grade Reader: PreK – 3


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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

We’ve all probably heard the saying, “A parent’s job is never done.” It’s true. Cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, tending to animals, and chauffeuring kids to playdates and practices are just a drop in the bucket of activities that keep parents go…go…going. The dad in this adorable children’s book is having one heckuva busy day, running errand after errand. He does it all with a smile and a funny attitude. 

At the grocery store, he places a bundle of bananas on his head. He set the most unusual sea animal at the pet shop on his head. An octopus! I hope he didn’t feel the octopus’s beak! The trio visited the hardware store, garden center, bakery, and haberdasher. Each pitstop gives children a reason to smile. 

After the finale, the author highlighted a variety of hats. The collage includes familiar hat names like pirate, baseball, and wizard. I was impressed with the lesser-known hat titles; at least they were lesser known to me: sou’wester, slouch, and pork pie. There were twenty-eight hats in total. There would be plenty of more to list during discussion time. 

The delightful children’s book has simple, repetitive text. It would make an excellent book for young readers to practice skills on. For non-solo readers, the repetitive action will encourage their participation as well. 

I recommend That’s Not My Hat! to children two years through third grade. It blends new and familiar words. FYI: Haberdasher is one of the new words, but picture clues should help older kids decipher its meaning. The illustrations are fantastic! The story as a whole is outstanding!

Get your copy today! 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:  

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Meet the Author

Marti Fuerst is a former librarian and English/Language arts teacher, artist, technical writer, and author of That’s Not a Hat! Marti has been drawing since she could first hold a pencil. One of her earliest works (permanent marker on drywall) is still on display on the wall of her childhood home. She loves history, the mildly spooky, making art, and goofing around with her kids. She also has an interesting collection of hats. Marti lives with her family in New Hampshire.
 
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As Maya Grows in the Natural World by Patricia Ambinder (Book Review)

“As Maya Grows in the Natural World” celebrates the joyful play of a young child and her friends as they discover the wonderful sights, sounds, tastes, touches, and textures in the natural world. Catch a falling leaf that waved goodbye to its tree, wiggling fingers in the squishy and lumpy earth, and dancing to the music of branches that sway as the wind plays are just a few of the book’s experiences for nurturing a child’s love and care for the environment.

Fun prompts and cues encourage outdoor exploration, enhanced by the whimsical and stunning illustrations and poetic phrases. Timeless quotations about nature and its profound impact on children are a wellspring of wisdom for adults to reflect on and share with the reader. The red lotus flower seek and find encourages attention to detail and instills a sense of accomplishment that brings a smile.

Feel the presence of nature’s calm and engage a child’s imagination as a listener, reader, and thinker through the book’s enchanting words and colors.

For budding nature explorers, ages 2-6.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The author quotes Qwatsinas – Chief Edward Moody, Nuxalk Nation, saying, “We must protect the world for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish, and trees.” As Maya Grows in the Natural World shows readers all the beauty that is around them. Children will walk the beaches, feel the sand between their toes, listen to the waves, and smell the salty water. As they enjoy an exciting day at the park, they’ll see a rainbow light up the sky and hear the city come alive. 

Chirping birds. Purring cats. Colorful butterflies fluttering from flower to flower. A falling leaf that signals the changing of the seasons. Sprouting seeds. Apple picking. Jumping in leaves. Flying kites. Buzzing bees. As Maya Grows in the Natural World was an absolute joy to read. It highlights the fun to be had in nature using a diverse cast of characters and spectacular illustrations. 

As Maya Grows in the Natural World is advertised for children 2-6 years of age. The simplicity of the text and the illustrations fit this age group; however, the poetic phrases distract from the overall story. While the thoughtful insights are lovely, they interfere with the flow of the story and are best suited for older children, not toddlers and young preschoolers. 

 

This story encourages children to explore nature and help protect it. 

“If you like fruits, plant a tree,

If you like birds, plant a tree,

And if you care for others, plant many trees.”

– Unknown.

 

How We Learn states: “I will know problem-solving, self-exploration, decision-making, number relationship, structures, complex vocabulary, healthy living, cause and effect, creativity, imaginative thinking, and my natural world when I am big. Because I play outside when I am little.” Playtime has many health benefits: physical, emotional, and mental. It helps set the foundations for social interactions. Children learn cooperation as they learn empathy. This story spotlights these points while showing the importance of cherishing and protecting nature from tiny seeds, dolphins in the seas, our furry friends, and more. 

I recommend the book to elementary school children. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

A writer of poetry and prose, Patti Ambinder is a passionate advocate for social justice. Drawn to the palette of words and the language of colors, she uses them to seek a deeper understanding of the human experience and its relationship with nature. Patti loves spending time outdoors.

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Bob Tales, Land of the Woody Warbles by Susan Sullivan (Book Review)

When a sad and hungry kitty is rescued from a garbaggy place by a loving family, only to lose them again, he sets out to find them. On his journey, he encounters many strange and wonderful creatures including a slithery snake, a frisky frog, a friendly fish, a laughable lemur, a marvelous mantis, a testy turtle, a babbling bee, a wee worm, and a wise old owl. Along the way, he learns that he is a bit different than most cats and the other creatures aren’t so nice about his unique qualities.

While struggling with his identity, and weakened from his journey, the cat becomes more and more lost. He faces perilous danger and nearly gives up all hope. But after digging deep to find trust, and a little help and teamwork from his new friends, he finds more than he was hoping for.

In this beautifully illustrated tale of a cat without a tail, our hero learns how to believe in himself, overcome his fears, and feel comfortable in his own fur – with lots of adventures along the way. An inspiring story of courage, teamwork, and the long journey home.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The World Animal Foundation claims that, shockingly, there are 60-80 million unowned or feral cats in the U.S. Susan Sullivan focuses on one homeless kitty in Bob Tales, Land of the Woody Warbles. Before the black kitty met his owners, he lived on the streets. He feasted on rotten garbage, causing his coat to smell no better than the food he consumed. He was bullied, beaten, and understandably sad. All that changed the day the gentle man with shaggy hair scooped him up and promised to help him. The friendly human gave the lonesome, dirty, hungry cat a name (Bob). He made sure Bob was given medical care, a bath, a warm bed, and plenty of healthy food. Bob loved his new family, a blended home of cats and dogs. He felt safe. He felt loved. He felt like he belonged. 

Bob understood that sometimes his owners would leave for the day, but he also understood they eventually returned. However, one day, they didn’t, and Bob was consumed with worry. As pet owners, we see the joy in our furry friends when we return home. Kisses. Head butts. They show love in their own way. Bob loved his humans and was willing to brave the harsh outside world again for them. 

In every chapter, Bob meets new faces. He met some friendly animals and some rude animals. Art imitates life in this instance. No matter the reader’s age, you will encounter people who will lift you up and those who enjoy tearing you down. It’s important to remember the wise words of Oakley, the owl: “What others think doesn’t matter half as much as what you think.”

Bob did not have a tail, and many animals remarked about it, causing him to be ashamed of who he was and what he looked like. Bob didn’t know life with a tail, but these wild animals made him feel terrible about it. We see this type of behavior in humans. We focus on someone’s outward appearance and should be judging someone by their actions. Bob was a sweet, smart cat who loved his family with all his heart. He braved the turbulent waters, faced his fears, and never gave up looking for his “lost” humans. 

In the end, Bob was reunited with his family, and what a story he had to share with his furry brothers and sisters. He swam. He flew. He had an adventure that would widen any furry friend’s eyes with shock and disbelief. 

Bob Tales, Land of the Woody Warbles thirteen chapters are full of action, adventure, love, and gorgeous illustrations of animals and insects (artist: Lauren Reeves). I recommend sharing it with your child six years and older. Make it a part of your bedtime routine. 

Remember: adopt, don’t shop!

Heart Rating System:
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Meet the Author

Susan Sullivan worked in Nuclear Medicine before teaching high school biology and anatomy for ten years. Bob, Susan’s tailless rescue cat, had wanderlust and his true adventures became the source of great stories. Susan enjoys being in nature and among animals, particularly when she is beekeeping.

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Zoe the Pull-Leash Dog by J. E. Brewer (Book Review)

Zoe is a little white dog with a whole lotta pull! Every time Edna takes her pup Zoe for a walk, Zoe takes Edna on a wild ride through town. In this laugh-out-loud picture book for little kids, Zoe and Edna wreak helpful havoc on townsfolk, but always with a positive result. As Zoe pulls the leash, the duo rushes past delivery men, grocery clerks, laundry ladies, jump-roping kids, and many others who can benefit from Zoe’s unique panache. It’s a hilarious story about helping people in unexpected ways. Vivid illustrations include “hidden Zoes” for youngsters to spot before each big event. As she races through town, dragging her long-suffering owner behind her, Zoe gathers a thank-you from everyone she meets. Zoe the Pull-Leash Dog is an imaginative book about an adorable, can-do canine.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Most people have watched videos online or on tv featuring energetic dogs who are a handful once the leash snaps onto their collar. They drag their humans off porches, across lawns, and down streets, sending them flying in all directions. Zoe the Pull-Leash Dog by John Brewer features a white pooch who takes its owner on a wild ride around town. 

Zoe might be small, but don’t let their looks fool you; this doggie is no calm walker. The second Edna slipped on her glasses, Zoe was off to the races. The duo rushes past delivery men, grocery clerks, laundry ladies, jump-roping kids, and many others. Edna flew here, there, and everywhere, and the illustrations for the crazy journey were very humorous. 

Despite Edna’s run-in with power lines, clotheslines, and billboards, she emerged unscathed from the sticky predicaments. Each altercation led to a positive outcome, earning a well-deserved thank you. For example, at the grocery store, her speed helped wrangle multiple shopping carts. Edna also assisted a mailman by delivering a package. Her most impressive act was her topiary skills. She made trimming two bushes to look like a duck and goose seem easy!

Zoe the Pull-Leash Dog is an imaginative book about an adorable canine and their human who assist their community in unexpected ways. The non-stop action and pictures will make your child giggle. Amazon’s recommended reading age is 3-7, but I can see an even wider viewing audience enjoying the antics of the owner and pet. 

While the illustrations were phenomenal and full of hilarity, I wanted a final image of a sleeping Zoe next to her frazzled-looking owner. I think that image would’ve been a perfect non-verbal response to the question posed at the end of the story. Besides a small illustration request, this story was a home-run hit! 

Zoe the Pull-Leash Dog is a laugh-out-loud picture book full of action, adventure, and death-defying illustrations. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

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Meet the Author

I grew up in a hardworking lobstering town on the coast of southern Maine. As a Physics major at the University of Maine, I won the state creative fiction competition. Today I live on Boston’s north shore with my wife, a pre-school teacher. We have two sons and a little white dog.

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