A dog is rescued by a farm girl whose family then moves to the city. The dog runs away and returns to the farm to live with the family who lives there now. We meet the family, hear about the farm’s other dog. There’s a skunk, coyotes and a rattlesnake. Then the grandson comes to the farm. Then the story stops.
Big Dog, published by Dorrance Publishing, is written with nice details and good first person (dog) perspective. What it lacks is a plot. Young readers easily will be drawn in to the story of Big Dog. What they’ll find, however, is the set up for a story but no real narrative. It’s a shame that Helen Maldonado didn’t take time to develop some adventures for her lead character.
A good illustrator (vs. the black and white photographs presumably taken by the author of her dog) and a plot would make Big Dog a great read for elementary school readers. Lacking those, it just seems like a story someone forgot to finish.
***Dorrance Publishing provided me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for my review***
As an EMT, paramedic and flight paramedic/RN, I’ve seen a wide variety of emergency services and also a fair number of books for children to familiarize them with EMS. Understandably, I was really excited when I found “Suzie” at the Dorrance Publishing site. The book arrived and my young son was excited to see it! We read it together and his review was better than mine. He said it was “good”. I beg to differ. My first issue with the book is the price…$8.00. There is no way I would pay $8.00 for a 25-page, 4.5′ x 7″ paperback book with only black and white drawings for illustrations. I’m glad I got it for free (in exchange for reviewing it). Secondly, I’ll admit that children’s books often portray a cartoon-ish picture of the world, but when it comes to health-related topics I think a more realistic picture is helpful. This book had several unrealistic aspects. The mother wears gloves to deal with her child’s injury. The mom states that the gloves (PPE) are “…to protect your cut from getting infected.” In reality, PPE, an essential part of any medical care, is to protect the caregiver from infectious diseases, not to protect the patient. Most gloves aren’t sterile and freshly-washed hands are likely cleaner than gloves (or at least AS clean). A mom would know their child’s medical history and would face no danger from their young, healthy child’s blood. Another unrealistic situation is presented when the ambulance takes the girl home. Not likely to happen.
As a healthcare provider, I was always really honest with my young patients. I did everything possible to make sure that their procedures were as painless as possible. If something was going to hurt or sting or pinch, I told them so (and HOW LONG it would continue). When Suzie gets stitches in the book the doctor tells her “It won’t hurt”. Admittedly, the stitches THEMSELVES aren’t supposed to hurt, but the numbing often does (there is a gel that you can put on small wounds to numb them before NUMBING them — with a needle — and stitching the wound, but isn’t always possible). A young child would take those words at FACE VALUE. If the procedure did hurt, they would be very mistrustful later, with good reason!
I think the book was a great effort at making a scary and confusing situation less anxiety-producing for children, but kids will likely come away from a real-life experience with EMS with a different impression. EMS doesn’t have to be emotionally traumatic for kids, but painting false pictures to children who are literal does nothing to prepare them.
Save your money for another title….
**I was provided with a copy of this title from Dorrance Books in exchange for a published review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.**