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Summary: Casey and Bella are 2 dogs who, while their owners are at work one day, take a journey into New York City. They meet some new friends along the way, and we all learn lessons about being nice to others, not judging by the way others look, and forgiving. This is a picture book story with dogs who have lessons for kids
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 6; read yourself: 7 to 9
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Age of Child: Read with a 5-year-old boy and his 3-year-old brother.
Young Reader Reaction: My sons liked this book. Any story about animals is usually a hit in our house. They misidentified some of the animals, though. For example, they called a dog a cat — mostly due to the strangeness of the illustrations. They did not want to read this one more than once.
Adult Reader Reaction: As a parent, I appreciate the message that the author was trying to be teach (be kind and accepting of all strangers that you meet). That said, I didn't like the book. There are too many words on the page to keep the attention of my young children (the intended audience). I had to paraphrase to get through it. Also, the rhyming was a little forced, making the meter and meaning awkward. The illustrations were a little awkward, too.
Pros: This book demonstrates strong messages for kids about kindness and judging others.
Cons: There are too many words for this audience, and older audiences will find it "babyish." The rhymes are awkward at times.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a book worth borrowing at the library. It may resonate more with first graders.