I have a soft spot in my heart for animals. My cat Princess joined my family over eight years ago when she showed up at my back door, hungry and meowing. Although my dog Espen came from a breeder, my second dog Kenobi came from a rescue organization. Pumpkin the kitten joined my family earlier this summer when my family and I found her wandering the streets near our house. My mom also has two rescue dogs. I cannot pass up an animal in need, and I love my pets with all my heart. My kids also adore their fur brothers and sisters. Thus, when recently offered the chance to review Porsche Bella’s Forever Home, The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats!, Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer?, and Don’t Say Good Bye Just Say See You! of the Dog Tales Collection written by Patricia A. Brill, PhD, and illustrated by Curt Walstead in exchange for my honest opinion, I eagerly accepted the opportunity.
Price and Design
All four of the titles in the Dog Tales Collection series currently cost $9.95 each for the paperback copies of the books. The set of award winning illustrated books are intended to open a dialogue between parents and children concerning issues or questions about pets. The books help young readers better understand what happens when their pet or a loved one has cancer, has to undergo surgery, has to stay overnight at the hospital, or even dies. All four titles are recommended for readers between the ages of 5 and 8.
Author Patricia A. Brill, holds a dual PhD in exercise physiology and health education. She is an expert in developing functional fitness exercise programs for specific daily activities. Her personal experience with family, friends, and their children going through cancer and other life challenging situations inspired her to write the Dogs Tale Collection. She was awarded the 2014 Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence (Silver Award Recipient for Juvenile Books). She currently resides with her husband Dino and rescue dogs Turbo, Cayman, Carrera, and Porsche Bella.
“I hope that these books will help parents and children open up a meaningful dialogue that will help make the joys and sorrows of having a pet a little bit easier,” explains Brill. “Some of these subjects are never easily dealt with, but with a little understanding and love, pets can make wonderful companions that will truly enrich everyone’s lives.”
Illustrator Curt Walstead grew up in the small rural community of Merced located in the middle of the central valley of California. After receiving a degree in biology from California State University, Sacramento, he moved to Southern California where he studied illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He currently resides with his family in Westlake Village, California where he has worked as an animation storyboard artist and illustrator for over twenty years.
Porsche Bella’s Forever Home
Written to encourage a new generation of animal rescuers, Porsche Bella’s Forever Home helps young readers see the importance of rescuing, fostering, and/or adopting animal, giving our furry friends a second chance. Porsche Bella and her puppy siblings are three white boxers who have been abandoned in a field because white boxers are sometimes born blind or deaf, so the breeder feared that no one would want the pups. The story then follows Porsche Bella to her foster home and finally her forever home at which she meets her new adopted dog siblings.
As a pet parent to three rescue animals, I love the important message of rescuing, fostering, and adopting animals in Porsche Bella’s Forever Home. The book answers some questions that kids might have about abandoned and rescued animals through the questions that Porsche Bella asks about her ordeal. Children who are in the foster system or who have been adopted can also find parallels to their own lives in the story. My four-year-old kindergartener, who has been reading on her own for a little over six months, can already read most of the text with only a little bit of help, so I agree with the age recommendation. The pictures are colorful and help bring the story to life. My toddler son loves pointing at all the dogs throughout the pages. I am very impressed with the way in which the book discusses the important topic of animal rescue and adoption.
The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats!
The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats! was written to help children understand what happens when their pet has to have surgery and to reassure young readers that their pet will be safe and protected. In the story, a dog named Murphy is at the vet, waiting to have surgery to remove some items from his stomach. Turbo the dog explains to Murphy what will happen before, during, and after the procedure. A cat with a broken leg who recently had surgery chimes in as well as an example of a surgery that requires a longer recovery time. The book takes a lighthearted approach at a serious topic that can cause great worry in young children with pets.
All four of my pets have been spayed or neutered. My dog Espen also had surgery to remove a tumor from his side. When my kitten Pumpkin recently had her spay surgery, my daughter was quite worried about her. I assured my daughter that her kitten was in good hands and that her surgery was routine, but I wish that I had had a copy of The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats! to read to her to assuage her worries. The lighthearted story really helps explain the basics of surgery to young readers. As with the other titles in the Dog Tales Collection, the book also offers parallels to medical treatments that people might undergo. I definitely recommend this book to any child whose pet needs surgery, either routine or unexpected.
Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer?
Coping with cancer can be difficult for children, and Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? strives to alleviate some of the confusion, fear, and misunderstanding that children experience about the disease and its treatment. In the story, Turbo the dog receives a cancer diagnosis. His friend Boxster helps reassure Turbo by explaining the disease and treatment. Boxster also reassures Turbo that he did not develop cancer because he was a bad dog. Bad dogs get time-outs. Any dog can get cancer. As with The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats!, this book approaches a serious and sometimes scary topic in a more lighthearted and positive way.
My dad died from cancer last year, so books that discuss the topic are near and dear to my heart. My daughter, who adored her grandfather, still has questions about the disease. I wish that I had had a copy of Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? last year to help approach the subject with her. While her grandpa died from the disease, I have made sure to tell her that not everyone who gets cancers dies. I also make sure to tell her that cancer does not happen because people (or animals) were bad. I really appreciate that this book reinforces the fact that anyone or any animal can develop the disease but that cancer also is not necessarily a death sentence.
Don’t Say Good Bye Just Say See You!
Don’t Say Good Bye Just Say See You! seeks to show children that grief and loss are normal feelings after the death of a relative, friend, or pet. In the story, Turbo the dog experiences his best friend Boxster dying from cancer. Boxster tells Turbo that he should say, “See you!” rather than “Good bye,” because good bye is something that you say to someone you may not say again. Boxster assures Turbo that the two will see each other again someday. Boxster also tells Turbo that dying is okay because he will no longer be sick or in pain. The book gives parents an opportunity to talk about death with their grieving child by addressing feelings of sadness, anger, and guilt and to clarify any misconceptions about death.
I must admit that reading Don’t Say Good Bye Just Say See You! made me tear up. As I said, my dad died last year from cancer. My mom’s first dog also died from cancer a few months later. Before my dad died, I read many books about dying, death, and Heaven with my daughter to help explain loss to her. I would have loved to have had this book at the time. The story offers a comforting perspective on the loss of a loved one. Kids can really relate to Turbo and his feelings as he deals with the death of his best friend. I do warn you that you may shed a few tears as you follow Boxster on his journey to Heaven. I highly recommend this book to any child who has questions about death.
I love that the Dog Tales Collection was written with the intention of opening a dialogue between parents and children concerning issues or questions about pets. All four titles in the series are recommended for readers between the ages of 5 and 8, and my kindergartener can read almost all the words by herself. The pictures are colorful and help bring the stories to life. Porsche Bella’s Forever Home talks about the importance of rescuing and adopting animals. The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats! help children understand what happens when their pet needs surgery. Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? helps alleviate some of the confusion, fear, and misunderstanding that children experience concerning cancer and cancer treatment. Don’t Say Good Bye Just Say See You! shows children that grief and loss are normal feelings after the death of a relative, friend, or pet. I appreciate the lightheartedness with which each book approaches each serious topic. If you are a lover of pets or simply want to talk to your child about animal rescue, surgery, cancer, or death, I highly recommend the Dog Tales Collection written by Patricia A. Brill, PhD, and illustrated by Curt Walstead.
Purchase Porsche Bella’s Forever Home, The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats!, Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer?, and Don’t Say Good Bye Just Say See You! on Amazon via my affiliate links. Follow Dogs Tales Collection on Facebook or visit the webpage.
Dog Tales Collection 1 © 2016 Heather Johnson
Dog Tales Collection 2 © 2016 Heather Johnson
Cover of Porsche Bella’s Forever Home © 2016 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of Porsche Bella’s Forever Home © 2016 Heather Johnson
Cover of The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats! © 2016 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Dog Treats! © 2016 Heather Johnson
Cover of Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? © 2016 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? © 2016 Heather Johnson
Cover of Don’t Say Good Bye Just Say See You! © 2016 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of Don’t Say Good Bye Just Say See You! © 2016 Heather Johnson