How can we show our children and students the importance of caring for others? What is the best way to teach compassion and why it is important to be a good friend? Charmaine Hammond and Rose Anne Prevec have teamed up to come out with a fine children’s picture book, Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, and His Hospital Friends, to convey how to be kind to others. This book is the first in a series of chidren’s book about Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog.
The eye-catching front cover with an illustration of a boy and a girl petting an adorable dog immediately wins you over. The back cover has a photo of the star of the book, Toby, a real pet therapy dog, and and it introduces us to Toby. We learn, “Toby is a big, brown, happy dog. Every week, his owner, Miss Charmaine takes him to visit and comfort children who are in the hospital. Follow Toby the service dog for a day, and see how he makes friends with the children, helps make them happy and forget that they are sick and away from home.” A hospital visit from Toby would be every young patient’s dream!
Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, and His Hospital Friends is written for children 4 yrs. and up. The 36 page picture book is a great book to read aloud with young child who can follow and enjoy the wonderful illustrations that transform the author’s ideas to life. The colorful, realistic illustrations are accurate to the plot, characters, and setting. The reader and child will have lots of opportunities to stop and discuss real life situations that are similar to the topics in this book. Older kids will be able to read the book alone and the detailed illustrations will help with the comprehension.
Teachers will also love to use this book with their young students because there are teachable themes or messages that lend themselves to great class discussions. If a school was fortunate enough to be able to buy a class set of this book, and a group of children were going over it in class one BIG thing missing is that the pages are not numbered. Picture the frustration of trying to get all the students to go to the same page. “NO, not that picture, look for the picture with the dog next to a wheelchair with a ….” get it?
Once Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, and His Hospital Friends has been read, parents, teachers or caregivers can use the fourteen “Questions to Enhance Children’s Critical Thinking Skills” found on the last page as a spring board to great discussions about hospital stays and treatments, about friendships, about one’s fears, and about helping others. Some conversation openers:
- Simon said Toby is a very good friend. How was Toby a good friend?
- Who are your friends? Why is it important to be a good friend?
- Have you done nice things for your friends? What have your friends done for you?
- Sturdy, laminated good quality paper for cover.
- High quality paper for each page.
- Saddle Stapling- the fold becomes the spine of the book and two staples are placed in the fold.
- The right feel and size for young readers.
- Excellent, colorful, realistic illustrations that sometimes span both pages- perfect for all the visual learners!
- Well organized so the text and illustrations balance each other to make the story flow along seamlessly.
- The use of different colored paper for entire pages here and there in the book gives added punch.
- Sharp, easy to read font in the correct size for young readers.
Charmaine Hammond is the author of the wildly successful book, On Toby’s Terms (www.BettieYoungsBooks.com), winner of the CHIMO Reese Award, and the subject of a 2011 movie. Toby and Charmaine were awarded the “Reese Award” by the CHIMO Animal Assisted Therapy Project in appreciation of volunteer service.
Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, and His Hospital Friends is based on the true story from the book and movie, On Toby’s Terms which is about when Charmaine and her husband adopted Toby, a five-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever.
On the author’s web site I read,”We are proud to release the first in the Toby the Pet Therapy Dog series, “Toby the Pet Therapy Dog–and His Hospital Friends.” Five other books in this hit series are underway.” Next in the Toby for Kids series:
- Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, Says be a Buddy Not a Bully
- Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, Goes to School
- Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, and his Neighborhood Friends
- Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, Learns to Surf
Yes, author, Charmaine Hammond, and illustrator, Rose Anne Prevec surely have a winner with this book… and we will all be winners when we get our hands on the next books in the series!
Bestselling author Charmaine Hammond is a former Correctional Officer and Chartered Mediator, and speaks to audience around the world on importance and power of building resilience. Charmaine lives in Alberta, Canada.
Read our interview with Charmaine Hammond here.
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