Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where's Rascal? and A Surprise for Rascal

Author Jan Shafer put two dogs stories together under one cover in her book Where’s Rascal? and A Surprise for Rascal. The book features and abandoned dog and his adopted family. In the first story, Rascal’s original family moves away and leaves him behind. Two weeks later, Rascal is caught outside in a storm. After the storm leaves, the whole neighborhood looks for Rascal. When they find him hiding under the porch, one of the neighbors decides to keep him.

In the second story, Rascal’s owners bring home two young puppies. Rascal must share his toys, his bed, and their attention, and he doesn’t like it. Then one of the puppies gets sick, and Rascal decides he cares about the young dogs after all.

At the conclusion of each story, the author includes questions for readers to explore. For example, “What does the word responsibility mean?” and “What are some ways we can learn to be responsible?” The author uses the questions to pull a faith factor into the story.

The illustrations, done by Katie Brooks, are simple and cute with a "coloring book" look and feel to them. The book also comes with a free audio book download.

What I Like: The questions are the best part. They allow parents to discuss some good life lessons about responsibility and sharing love with family members. The free audio book download is a big plus too!

What I Dislike:The paw/bone print background behind the text is cute, but distracting. Also, for me the stories were flat. The writing wasn’t tight enough, and didn’t make me connect in a strong way with any of the characters. I also thought the story itself didn’t flow well. Why did the neighbors wait two weeks before caring about Rascal? Plus the change in Rascal’s feelings for the puppies seemed too sudden and convenient. Finally, any connection to God/ faith isn’t evident at all except in the question section following the story.

Overall Rating: Ho-hum

Age Appeal: None listed, but probably preschool- grade 1.

Publisher Info: Tate Publishing, 2011; ISBN: 978-1617390937; Paperback, 32 pgs., $10.99

This book is not available at
Buy it at for $9.34
OR Buy the KINDLE version for $8.79.

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