I believe people who love books can relate books to a place and time in
their lives giving books a very special irony--books become bookmarks of
our lives. We used many resources to find the kind of books we wanted to
share with our viewers including contacting Jo at Inknbeans Press. From
day one Jo was helpful even recommending books not published by
Inknbeans Press. Jo told me she enjoyed the way I integrated vignettes
in book reviewsShe was not aware the vignettes used in introducing
books was because of her. Flashback decades...
When I watched Lassie on television as a child it really became a traumatic
experience. I cried on every show fearful Lassie would be hurt. I rolled across
the floor, tears flying, hollering about Lassie. The shows about Lassie in caves
just tore me to pieces. Really, I was just a hot mess to the point my mother
made me stop looking at Lassie.  I was reprieved, saved from myself. I never
looked at another dog movie or read  a book about dogs again. Decades later,
flash forward...
I was so far removed from dog stories even as I asked Jo for recommendations it never occurred to me the possibility that she would recommend a book about a dog’s death. I did not want to explain my Lassie issues to Jo and how I simply could not read the book she suggested. But we contacted Jo. So I thanked her, and with silent reluctance (and after a few days of avoidance) I read the book, and absolutely fell in love with it. Fell. In. Love. And to express how much I loved the book I integrated my Lassie experience with the review of Zellwood: A Dog Story by Rebecca Stroud. After that my vignettes became a signature for Dill Reviews because Jo at Inknbeans Press reminded me just how much books bookmark our lives.

Written and illustrated by MARIE TABLER

A charming tale with delightful illustrations The Singing Bobcat is a perfect book before naptime. I appreciated the owl from The Dancing Owl, another book by Marie Tabler, is integrated into The Singing Bobcat, as they are both part of the Tree Series books she created.

The Singing Bobcat and The Dancing Owl (I liked the first book so much I purchased the second one too) meets the hallmark of the best kind of children
books, the kind a child will want to read over and over again.

Call Of The Cats - What I learned about life and love from a feral colony
by Andrew Bloomfield

What appears to be a tribulation, becoming the guardian over a colony of feral cats is really a celebration. Though a beautiful story it is not beauty without pain to witness these felines horrific lives. I took from this story a spiritual essence when being an animal guardian allow one to purely, safely humble themselves, and in process comes a self discovery of inner depth. Andrew Bloomfield a proclaimed not-a-cat-person- discovered this as their guardian. Reading the Call Of The Cats I am reaffirmed against a cold wind fate of feral cats there is a lifeline of hope.

                 Petectives Stalking Horse by Robert J. Smith

Page one. Book one. I was hooked on Robert J. Smith’s series Petectives about two cats, Gatsby the intellectually smug but likeable and Yoshi his partner who tells their narratives from his point of view with a dry sense of humor as they solve neighborhood crimes. Petectives Stalking Horse takes this endearing duo out of their city elements to a farm where they engage with new animals characters, and some familiar ones. I really thought after reading a couple of Robert J. Smith books I would be able to figure out the mystery in Petectives Stalking Horse, and yet again like his other books I could not do it but with appreciation for the mystery. I admire the creative fluidity of Robert J. Smith’s writing to bring these memorable characters to life, allowing the reader to peek inside their secret lives that humans know nothing of, and ending the story Petectives Stalking Horse (like the books before it) the best way possible, making the reader looking forward to the next story in the series Petectives. Robert J. Smith's other reviews are further down on this page--check them out!  

Illustrated by Claire Scully and Richard Merritt
Fun.  Relaxing.  Addictive.  Coloring books for adults. This cover is so enticing we decided to purchase The Menagerie before we looked inside. The art work is gorgeous, the paper itself thick, and the pages are perforated thus perfect for framing. We found using coloring pencils with coloring pens add a great texture.   
Dave Johnson, a zookeeper and author, couples Zoodiac Kids with lyrical poetry, eye catching gorgeous colors of graphics and layout by Ray Lucero, and takes kids on a journey around the world by connecting them with animals by their birth months.  Dave Johnson teaches kids about animals, their indigenous geography, and the importance to be conservationists.  He wrote a book to inspire, and children who are inspired early in life to care about animals have healthy roots in becoming adults who never stop caring. Zoodiac Kids is Dave Johnson's third book for kids in his Sissy Sally Sassafras series about animals. Check it out -- https://www.facebook.com/zoodiackids/
A signed copy was gifted to S. Mason.  At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science we purchased another copy of Zoodiac Kids and donated it to a Little Free Library because a book that inspires kids to care about animals needs to be shared.  Check out Dill's Blue Page.


                                    The Runaway Bunny
     by Margaret Wise Brown- Pictures by Clement Hurd
A childhood book does more than bring back memories.  It takes a person, float them, to a time of who they use to be, and even a stranger can tell, if for a moment, that person is somewhere else. The story is about what mommy bunny would do to find baby bunny if he ran away. It is the enchanting art, poetic words that makes this book worth reading from one generation to the next.
                                     The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
I saw this book in a waiting room and with such a title I had to read it. And so do you. It is sooooo funny and creative!  Without any picture, only words, with the rule the reader must repeat the words, it is interactive and seeds the mind with an appreciation of words and books. Don’t pass this one up. 

                                            Coloring Animal Mandalas
                                            Wendy Piersall

When I was a kid getting an empty coffee can before it landed in the trash was a big deal.  I used them to store my crayons.  I don't use crayons anymore  but I still color...Coloring Animal Mandalas by Wendy Piersall  is such an easy recommendation for  Dill's Book Reviews.  Its about animals, art, and lots of colors for intricate beautiful animal images. Wendy Piersall has a great selection of coloring books so be sure to check them out including Coloring Animal Mandalas on online bookstores.  This book is so relaxing I don't even want a cup of coffee.   

                          Sherlock Ferret and The Poisoned Pond
          authored by Hugh Ashton with illustrator Andy Boerger

When I was a kid some of my favorite books were those I called my unending books.
They were a series of  a book set that after reading each book a few times I started reading the entire collection all over again. Sherlock Ferret and The Poisoned Pond (the third book in the series) authored by Hugh Ashton with illustrator Andy Boerger reminds me of unending books. Further down on this page are the reviews from the first two books, and on the first page of Sherlock Ferret and The Poisoned Pond are the most important reviews, those written by kids. Staying true to an eclectic group of characters, told in the narrative voice of Sherlock’s assistant, Watson (who is a mouse) with old style beautiful artistic pen drawings, the mystery unfolds. It’s only natural to try to guess a mystery’s ending but Sherlock Ferret and The Poisoned Pond is so original (just like the first two books) to my pleasure I could not figure it out. And perhaps that’s part of the magic of unending books--they are timeless. 
                                          POND WALK

                                              written and illustrated by
                                              Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Our walk around water restored us and reflected there is a world unto itself around water. After  coming home, looking a book for a Dill review, this one was perfect. Cute. Cute. Cute. And smart. Pond Walk written and illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace is a story about a bear’s walk around a pond and from his leisure pursuit comes an adventure of discovery. Bright bold pictures, colorful, the illustrations tells the story as much as the words. Each discovery leads to another about the plants and animals who live around the pond--and there are many. Pond Walk conveys even a little pond can teach us just how large our world is. Don’t be surprised after reading Pond Walk to a child, a walk around a pond is next.
                                        FOUND by Saline Yoon                                          
Keys. Money. More things than can remember I’ve lost but only once did I ever lose a book. Ironically I know exactly where I lost it, in my library, misplaced. It was easier to purchase another copy than to find it. While book shopping I found FOUND.  FOUND by Salina Yoon is a story about a bear who finds a stuffed toy rabbit and while searching for the owner the bear begins to care for the rabbit as his friend. Bright colorful illustrations almost tells the story without words, but with the words, makes FOUND a sweet, charming story. Salina Yoon applies in her writing a pastel softness of loss without ever being overwhelming for a small child, and that makes FOUND a happy story. FOUND…a beauty of a word.  
                           BREATHE by Scott Magoon
As a city kid visiting a farm it was an amazing experience for me. Stroking a horse felt like touching a form of Christmas. But the possibility was beyond my comprehension I would ever see whale. When I finally did see a whale of all the wonderful emotions I felt the one I never saw coming was absolute humbleness.  So it is I believe every child’s library should have at least one book about whales and BREATHE by Scott Magoon is certainly worthy. Based on the title alone I had high expectations before I read it.  I was not disappointed. BREATHE is about a baby whale exploring his world. It is a simple story wonderfully told of one of the most fascinating creatures on earth. The story engages a small child to read and wonder. For a creature that lives in the water, the title alone, BREATHE, will open the door to questions. I love the illustrations in BREATHE, with hues of blue the art work emphasizes the size of whales.  BREATHE is the kind of story, after reading it, makes a child open another book.
Gerbs In The House
Authored by Lydia Lukidis  Illustrated by Heather Cook & Photography by Bailey J. Thompson

Writing book reviews for Dill’s blog made me aware of a childhood behavior that I had, and still have, and that is when I look at a book that makes me smile, I simply cannot resist it.
Oh my gosh. When I first saw the cover of Gerbs In The House I smiled, and when I flipped through the pages looking at the illustrations that married the photography I laughed. What a charmer of a book! Reading Gerbs In The House I found the story to be delightfully charming, very creative, humorous, and visually a box of chocolates. Lydia Lukidis spots her writing lyrically in rhyme with distinctive voices that makes these characters worth being a series. Gerbs In The House is a story about a father gerb trying to get his son to go to sleep when he is far from it. They live in a Victorian dollhouse and the illustrations by Heather Cook with photography by Bailey J. Thompson creates an original artistic vision, a story unto itself.  This was a very enjoyable read and visually appealing.   Gerbs In The House belongs on The List of books to purchase. 


                Sherlock Ferret and the Multiplying Masterpieces
                by Hugh Ashton and illustrated by Andy Boerger
A lost small and beautiful memory returned. I had forgotten when I was a kid how much I enjoyed looking at my books, re-shelving them on their case, how beautiful they were to me.

That is the memory refreshed when I looked at the covers of the Sherlock Ferret series of mystery books published by Ted E Beans a division of Inknbeans Press. They remind me of my childhood books with the B&W pen illustrations and balanced with the stories and characters making them new at the same time. I like the timelessness of them. Sherlock Ferret and the Multiplying Masterpieces is told in the narrative voice of Sherlock Ferret’s assistant who is a mouse. It makes for a whimsical, funny conversation about a puzzle of a mystery regarding multiple masterpieces. For kids too young to read the story it is a great book to read to them. Pleasantly in the second of the series there are characters from the first book, with new ones as well. Each story can stand alone but the set compliments each book. The first book of the series have a review further down the page, and the third book I placed in my Amazon shopping cart to be given as a Christmas gift. I recommend not only this book but suggest looking at more books by the publisher.

 You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant         
C.U.T.E.! You are (Not) Small is cute enough to make a person think of this book in July for a Christmas gift. It’s about the perceptions we have of others. While reading You Are (Not) Small it is easy to slip into the characters’ voices because it’s so engaging. The illustrations, that are adorable, marry the words. If the cover makes you smile, the contents will make you laugh. You Are (Not) Small is the kind of book you can read to someone and with someone. Written for kids and luckily there’s a kid in most of us. Short. Funny. Cute. Silly. Smart. Perfect. You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant is available in paperback and Kindle.                                                                                                        
          Alfred The Lion-Proud To Be Different by Bex Bolero
When I was a kid some books, when I finished reading them, I would immediately read them all over again. And again. Meet such a book for kids today…  There are a lot of things I like about Alfred The Lion-Proud To Be Different by Bex Bolero beyond an enjoyable story about a lion named Alfred who does not worry about fitting in.  I like the rhyming of the story that creates its own energy. I like the message.  I also like the message between the lines, never saying the word--leadership-- but that too is what Alfred The Lion-Proud To Be Different is about. That’s important because Alfred speaks (between the lines) of leadership as an organic character trait. Yet Bex Bolero tells his message in a fun, lighthearted way.  It is a delightful book. The colors are bright, delicious illustrations, and most importantly Alfred The Lion-Proud To Be Different by Bex Bolero opens the door for discussion. Every child will face someone who will tell them they are different. Before that happens it is important that a child is taught and embraces that the word --different--is something to be proud of.
                                                Wollee The Worm
               (Pa Dug & Rosie: Everything In The Garden Serves A Purpose)
                             by Niamh Clune and Marta Pelrine Bacon

When I was a kid I loved the scent of the air before it rained, the rain itself, the cleanliness of everything when it was gone. The only thing I didn’t like was the worms that appeared afterwards.

If Wollee The Worm by Niamh Clune and Marta Pelrine Bacon existed back then I would have felt totally different. It is a very short book, with cute illustrations, that seamlessly educates and entertains the importance of worms, plus there is a quiz at the end of the story. One of the most important things children should learn at a very early age is an appreciation of all animals. Dill Reviews recommends Wollee The Worm (Pa Dug & Rosie: Everything In The Garden Serves A Purpose) by Niamh Clune and Marta Pelrine Bacon because after the next rain a child might be incline to look for worms on the sidewalk and place them in the garden. It’s that kind of book.

                                    LOOK! by April Wilson
One of my favorite past times is, twenty bucks and the afternoon, in the book section of a second hand store. Talk about bringing home a bundle! It’s a great place to find many kinds of books at very little cost, and the enjoyment of selecting what book to read first is always fun. Recommended Animal and Nature Books by Dill from time to time will include some of our second hand books store finds. Granted, due to age some books might not be easy to find in regular book stores unless special ordered but we hope they are still inspiring enough that if you haven’t checked out an used book store, you will. LOOK! is beautifully illustrated, and it’s a book about finding the differences in two pictures that look alike. The art work is much too attractive to circle the differences on the pages, so an answer sheet of paper and pen is our option. Plus LOOK! provides tidbits of animal information. This hardcover beautiful book cost a dollar fifty. If a child does not have a library, a store of used books is a perfect place to start one.


 Hesty Bunny’s New Home  written and illustrated by Pam Bale
If I wasn’t a cat person and I would have been a rabbit person. That is the just of how I feel about rabbits.       So when I saw the cover of Hesty Bunny’s New Home authored and illustrated by Pam Bale I made the purchase. Just from the art I thought it would be a cute book but it is really cute. It is a before naptime book for younger children about a Hesty bunny’s in search of a home. It is a very short book, just several pages, with soft bright colors in the pictures, and a rhyming story. For children learning to read, the art follows the story and there are just enough words to help children make the connection between the two without frustration in learning to read new words. It is cute. 
It is a keeper. 


                    Grumpy Groundhog by Maureen Wright
When I was a kid I liked certain books because they were fun to read, and they made me giggle, and the memories of giggling, even now, makes me smile.

Grumpy Groundhog by Maureen Wright is a giggle book. It is a story about the townspeople getting the groundhog, who is rather grumpy in the morning, out of bed. They keep trying different ways and nothing seems to work. The characters in Grumpy Groundhog have the perfect expressions to create giggles, and the story is enjoyable enough to want to know what else Maureen Wright has written. Amanda Haley, the illustrator, for Grumpy Groundhog paired her art to the story seamlessly. The story is worth giggles and the art is worth giggles. I found Grumpy Groundhog by Maureen Wright a delightful, original story. It is a book worth adding to a child’s library because they will want to read Grumpy Groundhog again and again.

                              Petectives: Under Fire by Robert J. Smith

     I was sitting on the side of my bed, reading while laughing loudly, until my ajar bedroom door opened wider and Yoshi, our big gray cat, entered, giving me notice with his seriously judgmental green eyes that I was making too much noise.  I quieted my laughter.  Yoshi jumped on my bed, looked at the kindle, then at me, and looked at the kindle again.  His eyes never smiled. He left my room without really speaking as cats have that way about them.  I began laughing all over again because I was reading Robert J. Smith’s first book of the series Petectives, and his characters captured the nuances of cats so completely while at the same time I saw that essence in our cat, and Robert J. Smith’s book was inspired by one of his cats named Yoshi too.

     Ever since I finished Robert J. Smith last book, I have been waiting for his latest book,
inspired by both of his cats, Gatsby and Yoshi, in the Petectives series, titled Petectives: Under Fire. Together they make up the duo of petectives who solve mystery crimes in their neighborhood. I said it in my first review of his book, and I hope you read it further down on this page, and I will say it again but differently. Gatsby and Yoshi have such a dry sense of humor they do not tell jokes, they are just naturally funny  because Robert J. Smith was born to write.   Petectives: Under Fire has a community of characters with such different and distinctive personalities it becomes the doorway into their lives. The way Gatsby and Yoshi interact, annoyed themselves by cat behavior makes Petectives: Under Fire by Robert J. Smith a very worth while , funny read.  I enjoyed the tightly woven threads of the mystery that makes the outcome a clever plot. It almost teases the reader to solve it but only Gatsby and Yoshi can do that. Petectives: Under Fire and the entire series is for kids and adults. Dog lovers would like Robert J. Smith's books. As I am finishing writing this review about Petectives: Under Fire by Robert J. Smith, I am also waiting for the next book in this series.

                                                      Travis Tales                   
                                            Authored by Rose Salsman
                                          Illustrated by Claire Turtlemoon

He was invisible as a gray cat sitting on the sidewalk at dusk. The End. That is a line from a story I wrote, inspired by watching my gray cat as I was writing. But there is nothing invisible about them. The irony of the line personally for me is every time I see a gray cat, I am mesmerized. I cannot stop looking at them . . . So when I saw the cover to Travis Tales by Rose Salsman I was hooked. Even before reading the story I liked the character of Travis.  Travis Tales is a short story-one sitting book about a gray kitten who knows he is different and his struggle to not only accept his differences but embrace them. I like the light story telling voice of Travis Tales by Rose Salsman coupled with a the life lesson all children need to have.  For most people, I suspect, at an early age, the soft clay years in our molding, there is always someone who will tell us we are different, and unfortunately different in a not so good way. For a child to believe that can be life changing. In a sweet story Travis Tales molds a strong clay. I think this is a charming-cute book and equally so an important book.  Travis is relatable and his journey is just as important as his outcome.  Claire Turtlemoon is the illustrator. The art is just delicious. I wanted more of it. The artwork is worthy of a child’s bedroom wall.  Travis Tales by Rosa Salsman, published by Inknbeans Press, is another keeper.

                            Owen the Owl Wears Glasses by J. J. Beavis
     A kiss. A hug. Checking the closet for monsters. Read a storybook. Then read it again. Bedtime had a lot of rituals. Naptime? None. Go take a nap. Period. So it use to be . . .
     I am not just recommending Owen the Owl Wears Glasses by J. J. Beavis but recommending it as a naptime book. It is just a funny-cute book, with a relatable story, being different, with the message that is it important to see what makes us different as good. It speaks of an acceptance of ourselves. The colorful illustrations make likeable characters. Plus Owen the Owl Wears Glasses by J. J. Beavis is only seven pages long that makes it perfect for naptime.

                      Living Jewels by Poul Beckmann     
 Brilliant. Iridescent. Simmering. Metallic. Sparkling. Jewels. Hardly the words one would use to describe bugs unless you were reading Living Jewels by Poul Beckmann. Over 98% of Living Jewels consist of photography, and indeed Living Jewels is a justified title. Since I was a child I believed ladybugs are the cutest bugs on the planet.  But Living Jewels by Poul Beckmann makes me think of another word to describe beetles. Fascinating. 


    Sherlock Ferret and the Missing Necklace
                    by Hugh Ashton and Illustrator Andy Boerger

The narrative form, the artwork, and characters, including a whimsical little rhino in a top hat who drinks from a teacup lends a classic ambiance to this book. Sherlock Ferret and the Missing Necklace is a story about a rabbit who leaves her necklace outside and in the morning it is missing. Sherlock Ferret (how clever to have a ferret for Sherlock given their natural curiosity) takes on the case with his partner Watson Mouse, MD -Doctor of Mouseology- who tells the story in a narrative voice, a funny voice given his perspective. Together they encounter characters who each have their own puzzle piece to the mystery of the missing necklace. The cast of characters are charming enough that you’ll be incline to read the story out loud and to speak in the characters'  voices. What I also like about the supporting characters is they all have enough personality to have their own books.
I was pleasantly surprised by the artwork in Sherlock Ferret and the Missing Necklace. I did not expect drawings in pen, and black and white. It has that old world look and yet in this day and age it is new and fresh. It’s different and appealing. With all of these elements married so seamlessly it makes Sherlock Ferret and the Missing Necklace by Hugh Ashton and Illustrator Andy Boerger the kind of book that would be great for a series. As an added treat check out the YouTube of Sherlock Ferret and the Missing Necklace by Hugh Ashton and Illustrator Andy Boerger.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D9Xwuhyfnc
  The Sea, The Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry
 Books have been a part of Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat from the start. The Sea, The Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry has a special landmark for us because it was the first book a viewer recommended. We found it to be an intelligent, beautiful book with a compelling message. And just as it was recommended to us, we recommend it to all of our viewers. 

The Sea, The Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry tells the story of what happened to a seed that fell from a mangrove tree, traveled far by wind and water currents. The seed eventually take root along the banks of the water and over decades, grows. Lynne Cherry marries the fiction of her story, narratives are through the voices of the animals, to the non-fiction reality how the mangrove tree’s crucial placement in the ecosystem is needed for the survival of many species.  
Reading The Sea, The Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle presents itself in such a way it plants its own seed as it speaks to all of us about our relationship with nature and animals. Beautifully illustrated The Sea, The Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry heightens the awareness of our connection to all forms of life an umbilical cord exist. To our viewer who recommended this very important book, thank you again!


                       Broken Spokes by Arlene R. O'Neil

I was young. She was old. I took the city bus to school. A couple of days a week she took the bus too, her destination a mystery. She had wrinkled ears, chin whiskers, and made tiny shuffling footsteps. We chatted but I never asked her where she was going because I did not trust my voice to inquire without the underline tone she should be home. Even in winter storms she traveled. Somewhere.
It was over a year before she casually mentioned she was going to the grocery store to purchase her cats some food. Quickly I offered to go to the store for her after school so she could stay home. She laughed. Taking care of her cats kept her going she said. The bus came. And maybe the bus would always come. But the passengers change. There came a time other passengers sat in the seat she use to sit in. That is when I first believed animals had the ability to heal by their presence alone, because those passengers would have sat in her seat sooner if not for her cats. B
ut it is not always a cat.

Broken Spokes is a brave book because in order to write it Arlene R. O’Neil had to emotionally revisit a devastating accident she had at six years old that blueprinted her psychologically for years. Decades later Arlene R. O'Neil writes in Broken Spokes how she saved a puppy who would have otherwise died during his birth. This runt of a puppy turned out to be a hundred pound lab who was blind and together they helped healed each other. But what stuck me as profound was the extent of time that passed between her incubation of childhood emotional trauma and decades later the healing with the most unlikely hero. Broken Spokes speaks to the power of their relationship, and in turn speaks to the power of relationships people can and do have with animals.

Despite Arlene R. O’Neil’s hardship, and yet also because of it, I found Broken Spokes an uplifting story. Simply told, I think Broken Spokes have a way of connecting with adults who survived the hardest of tragedies when they were the soft clay of children. I found Broken Spokes a compelling quiet read about how ordinary lives experience extraordinary events. Hence triumph is often birthed from the womb of tragedy.  So are heroes.  Broken Spokes by Arlene R. O’Neil is not only brave and compelling but inspiring. Heroes. Sometimes they are the very unlikely. But sometimes we do not recognize heroes, and that can be especially true when it is one’s reflection in the mirror.

                          Tell Me How You Say Good Night 
               by Teddy O’Malley and Angie Dickens

     “What are you doing?”
     It was my first year in the seventh grade. My mother just informed me that she would not wake me up in the morning for school again. I was trying to figure out how to set the alarm on the clock. But I was raised old school. 
     “Give me the clock,” she said.
     After handing my mother the clock she looked at the back, pulled a couple of gizmos off that set the alarm and threw them in the trash. She then gave the clock back to me and said, “I do not believe in using alarms on clocks, wake up without one and you better not be late.”
 Real old school.
But when I was much younger going to bed was kinder. I was never told to stop reading and turn out the lights. I literally slept with books.  When Teddy O’Malley and Angie Dickens created Tell Me How You Say Good Night they really took an old school ritual, reading a child a bedtime story, and created their own personalized niche that makes their book so cute and smart, I think it has a subtleness of brilliance.  
     Intertwined in the story, puppies getting ready for bedtime, hence the title Tell Me How You Say Good Night, Teddy O’Malley and Angie Dickens smartly integrates teaching children how to say ‘good-night’ in several languages (with pronunciations included).
     I believe Tell Me How You Say Good Night is so smart and entertaining until it goes beyond a bedtime story and becomes a book that should used in day care and schools. It would not take too long before children would be able to read it back to the ones who read it to them, in all the languages, with an understanding of the words. It would not be a parroting because Tell Me How You Say Good Night has a great concept that is well executed. 
hen speaking to Teddy O’Malley she informed me she is working on a sequel titled, Tell Me How You Say I Love You that is expected to be published early next year.  I can envision an entire series based on Tell Me How You Say Good Night by Teddy O’Malley and Angie Dickens.  I am a firm believer when children are introduced to books at an early age that becomes the start of their personal libraries, their own hives.  Tell Me How You Say Good Night by Teddy O’Malley and Angie Dickens is a hive book. If you want to get a peek at Tell Me How You Say Good Night check out their book trailer on YouTube  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB8PD2TR8jU


Christopher Bullfrog Catcher by Christopher Shiveley Welch

      “Would you like a turn?” The man at an animal expo asked me while holding a snake that my child was already touching. My answer was odd, encrypted, and absolute.
     “I do not go into the woods or swamps.”
     As the expo man looked at me with dubious eyes my child smiled understanding my reply like no one else in the world could.  There were three things in life that would never happen to me.  I was never going to be attacked by a bear in the woods. The same applied to animals who lived in swamps. And I would never touch a snake.  Never.
     My child said, “Come on. Just try.”
     Our children. Their power. I agreed. Fingertip only. Skin to scales. One. Two. Three seconds. That’s enough. For three seconds I touched a snake and suddenly I became open minded to other experiences. So as I opened the book Christopher Bullfrog Catcher by Christopher Shiveley Welch I genuinely wondered, How does one catch a bullfrog?
     Christopher Shiveley Welch is to be applauded. In his book Christopher Bullfrog Catcher he explains how to catch a bullfrog in detail so the bullfrog is captured humanely. After capturing bullfrogs he releases them. If a person catches an injured bullfrog Christopher Bullfrog Catcher offers advice how to help the frog. One time Christopher captured a bullfrog who lost part of his limb. Christopher kept the bullfrog until he was healed, then released him. Next year Christopher caught him again. That must have been a fantastic feeling! Christopher’s information also explains how to hold a bullfrog. After reading Christopher Bullfrog Catcher by Christopher Shiveley Welch I believe I could catch one using Christopher’s advice.

                           “The bullfrog belongs to the lake.”
                        A quote from Christopher Bullfrog Catcher

      I like this quote enough to think it would be a great title for another book. I respect Christopher’s faith in himself to act upon his curiosity and write a book. That makes Christopher not only a bullfrog catcher, and an author, plus the youngest author to receive a Dill Review, but it also makes Christopher Shiveley Welch quite an inspiration.  Christopher, should I ever have an opportunity to catch a bullfrog, because of your book Christopher Bullfrog Catcher, I will try.  Dill would send her regards if she was not sleeping all of the time. ^..^


       It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog Trainer by Karen Davison

       “Maybe we should call him,” we both said at the same time while looking at the television show, My Cat From Hell. Suddenly Frankenstein came upstairs from the basement. The cats in the room  quickly woke up, stood, ready to run.
     “Dill…” we said in a tone warning her not to get started. Again.
     Frankenstein better known as Little Miss Dill Mc Cutty never looked at us. Instead she eyed the other cats, making a selection.  
    Dill came from a shelter. She had behavioral issues. Many issues. Sometimes she just picked a fight to fight. She selected. Pounced. Cats scattered. 
    We did not call the show. And after a very long time things got better.
But the length of time was long enough that as cat people it was nice to read It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog Trainer by Karen Davison because it was surprising to read the things dog people go through too.
     A reader will soon discover just how much Karen Davison, a professional dog trainer, truly love dogs and enjoys building the bond between them and their guardians.  She offers vignettes of her experiences each concluding with a humorous twist with Notes to self and Lessons learnt. As I was reading It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog Trainer I kept stopping to retell the stories to others because they were very funny and outrageous. Karen Davison’s book made me reconsider the title Dog Trainer. It is far more than about a peaceful bond and good behavior. What she really does is induce a better quality of life for the animal and guardian which makes the title Dog Trainer not enough.  Karen Davison lives in Ireland. But her book It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog Trainer makes her relatable anywhere, and to anyone, even cat people like us.
     It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog Trainer by Karen Davison is just one of her books. 


It was a risk I did not have to take. In an university level business course I had to give a presentation to my class and business peers, including my professor and supervisors. Passing the course depended on my presentation. My subject matter was How Distorted Perceptions Of Others Negatively Impact Business. For my presentation I decided to read a book. A risky book. A children’s book. A few cleared throats. Raised eyebrows. Shared glances. No smiles. The audience was laboriously polite. After they resettled in their seats I began to read a version about the three little pigs and the wolf and how everything was just a misunderstanding based on distorted perceptions…
Kiwi in Cat City (Kiwi series) by Vickie Johnstone is a fantasy/mystery about a family’s black magical cat named Kiwi who turns the kids into her kittens and off they go to a place called Cat City to help solve a kidnapping. Nikki McBroom, the illustrator, did a wonderful job lacing her art with Vickie Johnstone’s words and between the two Kiwi in Cat City has a collection of supporting characters that could have their own books.  Kiwi in Cat City is an imaginative, active story with charming-funny dialogue. I really enjoyed the storyteller voice of Vickie Johnstone’s writing that made Kiwi in Cat City an easy read and a book worth reading more than once. But what I liked the most was its ageless which translate into a timeless appeal. I don’t know if Vickie Johnstone deliberately set out to write Kiwi in Cat City for children and/or adults, but I do believe it takes a wordsmith to find harmony in such a balance. The outcome can be described in a word one. Enchanting. 

I got an A and an applause.                                      

               Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat by Greta Burroughs

The trick was to be sure the knot was tight. With that done, nearly choking myself, I climbed on the sofa with the bath towel tied around my neck. I was going to fly like Superman. Without pause for reconsideration, I jumped!

With a passion for books all of her life, after a career as an educator of young children, and an advocate for kids learning to read, writing children books was a natural next step for Greta Burroughs. Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat is just one of her books. Greta Burroughs created an unlikely pair to be friends, a dog and cat, that I believe is lesson unto itself. They are named after their book Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat. It is a collection of short amusing stories with delightful illustrations. Patchwork Dog always makes impulsive decisions without regards to his safety. Calico Cat is the voice of reason. Patchwork Dog, through his actions, learns the value of making safe decisions. Each story is worth reading worth more than once and all of them have questions that provoke discussion with kids with emphasis on safety. It really is a charmingly cute but smart book. But how cute?  How smart? As young children are taught to read they naturally begin to build their own libraries. Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat by Greta Burroughs should be one of their library books.

 And when I jumped off the sofa and landed on the coffee table destroying it beyond repair, what I recall most was that incredulous look on my mother’s face when I told her I really did believe I could fly. I could have used Calico Cat in my life. 

Fins, Fur & Feathers - Books 1-4  from -Read With Me, Pops series- Authored and photography by Pops Burkett

     “What is that?”
  I was in high school, lived in the city, and this was my first time on a farm. It can be a staggering feeling to see a large animal one has never seen before, and on a farm where, until that moment, I assumed all animals were identifiable.  “Really, what is that?”  I was told it was a pig.  I thought all pigs looked like Arnold the pig from Green Acres the television show. This pig was so huge, for me, there was a disconnect that it could even be a pig. That curly cute tail on Arnold and a pig hundreds of pounds heavier was not the same. He was so large I did not ‘see’ his stout.
     “A pig? Really? Are you sure?”
      It is with that memory I take great value in young children discovering animals which is just one appealing aspect of Pops Burkett’s book Fins, Fur & Feathers -a collection of all his books- from his Read with me Pops series.   As a collection or stand alone all of Pops Burkett’s books have the same appealing qualities, including his use of the word that begins with a ‘W’.
      Reading Fins, Fur & Feathers in a conversational tone Pops Burkett ask questions that's conducive to children learning as he also include facts about animals. Pops Burkett writes in a style that makes children wonder.  Fins, Fur & Feathers offers a balance and variety of books that allows children to see their world. Bigger.   Different.  More. Pops Burkett, a photographer, did all the photography in his books.  His photography is simply stunning. I can envision a child seeing Pop’s photography and become inspired to take his/her own photographs.  Pops Burkett should be applauded for promoting life changing behavior, a better quality of life for children with his book/s  including Fins, Fur & Feathers, and with the help of  his ‘W’ word. (Read With Me, Pops).  
       It really is a beautiful thing.

 Mr. Pish’s Woodland Adventure and Mr. Pish Goes to the Farm
                                   by K.S. Brooks

Jo, from Inknbeans Press, recommended that we take a look at the educational book series of Mr. Pish authored by K.S. Brooks. We must thank her.  It was troubling to learn the recent news of Mr. Pish’s passing.  No one wants the brutal raw grief of a loved animal’s death. So it may seem odd that I would say I feel for people who never experienced such grief but I feel for them because it means they have not experience a great love of an animal. It is time.  Overdue in fact.  But overdue no longer. We are not only shaped by those we love when they are living, we are still shaped by them after their death. To honor animals who have passed and their guardians, Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat  will post animals who are available for adoption to increase another animal’s chance to have a guardian.

To K.S. Brooks and family, we cannot imagine heaven without animals.
K.S. Brooks, author and Mom of Mr. Pish, a curly fur, jack russell terrier, created an educational series of books for children that we would not only ask parents to consider but schools and other organizations whose goal is to teach children to read at an early age. There are so many good things about this series until it needs to be said, to those K.S. Brooks acknowledged and thanked in Mr. Pish books, to all of you, “Bravo.”  With photographs, the series about Mr. Pish exploring the world, and encouraging children to do the same, be it a trail, a farm, or one’s backyard. Throughout the adventures, in a conversational tone, Mr. Pish teaches children to create their own journals, offering Mr. Pish’s website and Facebook to help. In asking questions Mr. Pish's books develop children to have a new perspective of the world around them, a grounded respect for animals, and creates an excitement to discover. Everything is told through the eyes of Mr. Pish whose ‘voice’ feels like one is talking to a friend.  In his passing Mr. Pish left timeless books for learning but he also did something else.  When children are taught to read it is the same as leaving them an inheritance.

                                                      www. Mr.Pish.com

The Complete Adventures of Digweed, The Cat by Eric Pullin
This is the book cover image from book two of one short story.
Diamonds. Pearls. A corvette-any color. Crystal. Gold. A grand piano. Some things just look better when they are next to a black cat.  Our black cat with yellow-gold eyes was named Panther. Like all lovers of felines our cat too could be in a room with 100 cats that looked just like him yet we could find Panther without one case of mistaken identity.

Digweed is the name of Eric Pullin’s black cat in his book The Complete Adventures of Digweed,The Cat. Because it is a collection of stories I will tell you what I like/appreciate overall about Eric Pullin's book. Eric Pullin’s path to publishing really is a story in itself. Writing Digweed was actually meant to be a gift to his granddaughter, and as time change all things when she was old enough to read, she read Digweed her grandfather. You can read more about  Eric Pullin’s author’s bio on Inknbeans Press or Amazon. I like that The Complete Adventures of Digweed, The Cat is a series of short stories bridged together to create a novel.  You can purchase one story or all of them. I also like how Eric Pullin weaves his stories together with the charming quality that Digweed sees human behavior as quirky, when all cat lovers know how quirky felines are. Animal Blogging With Dill The Cat firmly believes demonizing an animal should be a sin, so highly appreciated is Digweed a lucky black cat. The first books in a child’s life can be the beginning of their relationship with books, and the evidence is when a child says, “Read it again.” The Complete Adventures of Digweed, The Cat by Eric Pullin is that kind of book.  Eric Pullin has authored several books so be sure to check them out.

  PETECTIVES by Robert J. Smith

The mixed colored tabby lived somewhere in the neighborhood and when we were on the porch or in the yard he would visit regularly. One day when we were going inside, he just walked in with us. If his guardians ever wondered where was their cat, he might have been in our living room, sitting on a lap, being rocked in a rocking chair while looking at television. He liked that. We gave him the name Jafar, and he responded to it.  Cats have secret lives.

When Robert J. Smith wrote Petectives the reader enters that secret whimsical, humorous world without effort because Robert J. Smith has the exceptional talent to deliver witty lines, combined with capturing the behavior traits of animals, creating characters so well developed you can ‘hear’ their voices reading dialogue. The two main characters Yoshi and Gatsby were inspired by Robert J. Smith’s two cats with the same names. This duo makes up Petectives who are working on a mystery that is cleverly written. You can try but will not guess the ending. The soooooo very dry wit of their humor, that reminded me of Bob Newhart, kept me laughing.   Petectives really is a charming story, told in a delightful tone, that makes a good read for kids, adults, or together. Petectives by Robert J. Smith is not only a book you can read together, but laugh. Robert J. Smith has also written Petectives: Christmas Party. To like one book is to adore both. Plus Robert J. Smith is currently working on his third book in the series titled Petectives: Under Fire. To adore both would be to love all three.

                        Wheezer and the Painted Frog  by Kitty Sutton

      I was a young kid when my mother whispered, “Don’t stare when I tell you, okay?”
     “See that man over there?”
     “Yes ma’am.”
     “He is an American Indian.”
     With an opened mouth I stared. That was the moment I realized everything I ‘knew’ about Native Americans from cowboys on television was not real. So in awe I was my mother had to physically turn me around because I could not stop starring. I had never seen an Native Indian before and the experience encouraged me to read about them. Books. Sometimes they rescue us.

Kitty Sutton took an interesting, unique approach writing her mystery novel, Wheezer and the Painted Frog (Mysteries From The Trail Of Tears). The story takes place during an actual event in history, The Trail of Tears, when Native Americans were driven from their land and forced on a journey for relocation. Thousands died. Kitty Sutton also integrated in a person who lived during that time, and she added her own Jack Russell Terrier as the character Wheezer. High stamina. Active. Intelligent. Strong will. Strong. Not only are the true character traits of a jack russell terrier found in Wheezer, but also intergrated in her novel was how jack russell terriers (working dogs) impacted history during that period.   I enjoyed the relationship between the Cherokee girl and Wheezer, and how pure she listened to Wheezer when he conveyed dislike of someone in her mist. That is an earnest facet for people who are really connection to an animal. From the beginning of the story the way Kitty Sutton describes how Wheezer felt when he was lost I knew Wheezer and the Painted Frog (Mysteries From The Trail Of Tears) was a jewel.  Kitty Sutton put a lot in her novel, and a reader can come away with a bounty. Wheezer comes in a series including Wheezer and the Painted Frog (Mysteries From The Trail Of Tears) and Wheezer and the Shy Coyote (Mysteries From the Trail of Tears).                                                                       


Cats: Instructions For Use or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat by Annarita Guarnieri
     “Can I keep him?”
That was the conversation I had with my mother when I was a child after spending the afternoon in the alley behind our home trying to catch one of the many stray cats.  It took a while.  They were fast. Sometimes I was just a little bit faster.  I would feed them and they would remain but never long enough to answer to the names I had given them. Then back into the alley the cats ran, and before my claw marks healed I too returned to the alley looking for another cat.  As I read 
Cats: Instructions For Use or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat by Annarita Guarnieri I recalled my cat claw swipes as Annarita Guarnieri wrote of her own.  
Reading her book I quickly developed the impression long before by Annarita Guarnieri  wrote Cats: Instructions For Use or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat the book was waitng for her to begin writing.  Annarita Guarnieri's book is a mixture of veterinarian approval cat/kitten advice based on her experience of being the guardian of over one hundred cats, told in a conversational tone she, blends some of her experiences with her ‘babies’, and populates Cats: Instructions For Use or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat with pictures of them. My favorite were the cats sleeping  in the  sink and relaxing in the Christmas tree. LOL.  I too have a great passion for cats and like all cat people we learn a lot about them but I was impressed by the amount of useful advice/information in Cats: Instructions For Use or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat that I was not aware of.   If you love cats you will relate to this book.  The odds are most people know someone who love cats. Gift them a copy. The title though whimsical is rooted in truth. Animals, so helpless, really do own those who love them. Annarita Guarnieri's book also reminded me why I never had to say the begging words. “Pleaseeeee can I keep him?”  My mother knew what Annarita Guarnieri expresses throughout her writing in Cats: Instructions For Use or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat, a human cannot pick a cat, the cat picks you.  And those of us who love cats are honored.  
The Importance of Being Shine A Belgian Shepherd’s Memoir as told to Annarita Guarnieri. 

Have you ever wondered when animals looked at you, what they were thinking?
A loin, you can guess.  But a dog?  Sometimes you wonder. The Importance of Being Shine A Belgian Shepherd’s Memoir as told to Annarita Guarnieri is a wonderful story, told in a delightful way, through the eyes of Shine a Belgian Sheppard. Shine’s memoirs begin at his birth, taken to a shelter, and his new ‘mom’ Annarita Guarnieri taking him home with the intentions of Shine being a guard dog. So goes intentions. Shine becomes a family member and through the years, The Importance of Being Shine communicates their experiences, and eventually his death, and the life he leaves in the memories. I love the pictures.  We may not always know what a dog is thinking, but isn't it interesting we can see their smiles?  The Importance of Being Shine A Belgian Shepherd’s Memoir as told to Annarita Guarnieri writes of something very true, animal shelters are really another kind of diamond store. One of the things I took away from Shine’s memoir is we really do not know how much love is in us until we give it to someone, and in that discovery, we find ourselves.  Shine.  When you think about it, it really is a beautiful word.    

Don’t chose. Buy both. Cats: Instructions For Use or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat and  The Importance of Being Shine A Belgian Shepherd’s Memoir as told to Annarita Guarnieri. Thank you Jo, at InknBeans, for your recommendations.  Authors need someone like you in their corner, and so do readers.

Zellwood: A Dog Story by Rebecca Stroud.

Every week, when I was a kid, I looked at Lassie, and every show, I cried.   And cried.  It came to the point my mother would not allow me to look at Lassie anymore. It was a good decision.  And good enough that I avoided dog stories thereafter.  As an adult, even if I didn’t cry, and that was not insured, Lassie would still come to mind and all that crying.   No thank you.   I have avoided dog stories since I was a kid.

Decades later here comes Zellwood: A Dog Story by Rebecca Stroud.

I love this book. It is beautifully written. Poignant. Ms. Stroud takes common ordinary words and tap deep into emotions until as I read Zellwood: A Dog Story, I found myself smiling and nodding, and I really did not expect that from me. It is about a dog’s passing and grief.   It is about how animals make us better people, even if it hurts sometimes. Instead of flowers, the next time someone’s pet passes away, Zellwood: A Dog Story by Rebecca Stroud is more befitting to give. But don’t wait. Just read it.   Anytime.
A Three-Dog Night by Rebecca Stroud 

After reading Zellwood: A Dog Story I read A Three-Dog Night. It is a collection of short dog stories masterfully told, masterfully, because Rebecca Stroud have a natural talent to evoke emotions as all gifted writers, but combined her talent and a guardian of animals she created a gem of a little book in A Three-Dog Night.   Rebecca Stroud has written several books.


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