Castles by Stephanie Turnbull, illustrated by Colin King, 2003.

This nonfiction picture book for kids is part of the Usborne Beginners series, originally published in Britain. There are other books about castles, knights, and life in the Middle Ages from Usborne, but this book in particular, like others in its series, is a simplified version meant for beginning readers. The book is recommended for ages 4 and up.

The book explains different types of castles and the parts of a castle. It also offers details about daily life for people who lived in castles, including hunting, food and feasts, and things they would do for fun.

There are also pages about knights, the armor they wore, jousts, and attacking and defending a castle.

The book ends by explaining why castles from the Middle Ages are in ruins today.

In the back of the book, there is a glossary of terms and a link to the Usborne site’s page of quicklinks, which still works and has links to child-friendly informational sites on various topics, organized first by topic and then by related book. Both the book and the website offer Internet safety tips for kids and parents.

The book is available to borrow and read for free online through Internet Archive (multiple copies).

What Were Castles For?

What Were Castles For? by Phil Roxbee Cox, illustrated by Sue Stitt and Annabel Spenceley, 1994.

This nonfiction picture book for kids is part of the Usborne Starting Point History series, originally published in Britain.

I love books about daily life in the past, and this book explains the lives of people who lived in castles during the Middle Ages by answering questions about what castles were for and what people in castles did. Each page of the book is organized around sections answering specific questions.

First, the book describes the basic purpose of castles and different types of castles that have existed and how they were built. The, it shows different parts of a castle and what people did in different parts. One of my favorite parts is where they show what is in a castle’s keep, which is where the lord of the castle and his family lived. The book uses cutaway pictures to show what is inside buildings, and the detailed pictures show the different activities of the people.

Among the activities of the nobles who lived in castles, the book explains how they would hunt and hold feasts and jousts.

Knights and warfare were central to the purpose of a castle, which was to provide a defensible fortress for the noble families who lived in them and their supporters. The book explains how boys from noble families were raised and educated to be knights. There are also pages showing weapons and the siege of a castle.

One of the things I liked about this book is that, while it is mainly about castles and the people who lived in them, it also shows how people lived outside of castles in small villages, towns, and monasteries. While castles are iconic of the Middle Ages, seeing how people lived in these other places gives a more expanded view of life in Medieval times.

The pictures really make the book! Every picture from the cutaway castle views to the scenes of villages and towns or jousts and hunts, show many people and small details. There are little descriptions labeling the people and details, most giving extra historical information, but some just for fun so readers can notice humorous details, like the monk being chased by bees at the monastery, the chicken escaping along the castle wall, the sister who is happy that her brother is going off to learn to be a knight, and the page who is learning archery but hasn’t made the target yet (his last failed shot falls short of the target, but it’s labeled as the best he’s done so far).

In the back of the book, there is a section with the legend of Richard the Lionheart and his minstrel and a map marked with famous castles around the world.

The book is available to borrow and read for free online through Internet Archive (multiple copies, including one in French).

Mystery at Kittiwake Bay

Mystery at Kittiwake Bay by Joyce A. Stengel, 2001.

Cassie Hartt has only recently moved to Kittiwake Bay, Maine with her mother and brother following her parents’ divorce. Her mother is a nurse, and she has found a job at the local hospital, which is actually 30 miles away from the little town where they were able to find a house. Because of her mother’s long commute, Cassie will need to look after her 7-year-old brother, Danny. Soon after arriving, she meets a nice boy named Marc Nolan, who is a little older than she is and loves boats, and a girl name Liz Painter, who likes photography and walks her cat on a leash. Liz is the one who introduces Cassie and Danny to the Beachcombers Club, which is a group for kids Danny’s age who like to go swimming and camping and the kids who hang out at the Sand Shack coffee shop. Marc is one of the Sand Shack kids, and so is a boy named Ryan Jerrick, who is Liz’s crush. Cassie is glad to be making friends and starting to get settled into her new home, but soon, there are complications.

One evening, on her way home from the grocery store with her dog, Sam (short for Samson), Cassie sees some mysterious figures sneaking around in the dark. She doesn’t know who they are, but the way they’re sneaking around worries her. She later learns that there have been robberies in the area.

Cassie develops a fascination for the large house that she saw on a cliff near the ocean, and Marc and Ryan tell her that’s a senior citizens’ residence called Waterview Manor. Both of them work there part time. Liz says that the house wasn’t always a senior citizens’ residence and that there are a lot of weird stories about the place. It was built by a rich man before the Civil War, but it became property of the town in the 1950s. One of the stories about the place is that it was once part of the Underground Railroad helping escaped slaves. The boys say that a woman named Mrs. Wentworth says that her grandfather was one of the people helping escaped slaves. There’s also a story about Captain Kidd hiding his treasure somewhere around the old house, although Ryan doesn’t believe any of these stories. He thinks Mrs. Wentworth just tells tall tales. Cassie thinks that she might like to volunteer at the house, like the boys did before they started working there as employees. If her little brother joins the Beachcombers Club, she’ll have some free time for volunteer work.

When Cassie goes to Waterview Manor to sign up, she witnesses an argument between Ryan and Mrs. Wentworth, who is confined to a wheelchair. Ryan was being disrespectful because Mrs. Wentworth was telling one of her stories about the history of the town that Ryan thinks is outlandish, and Mrs. Wentworth was telling him off. Ryan doesn’t actually like working at Waterview, but he has to keep his job because he needs the money. Cassie thinks he’s arrogant. Ryan has no patience for the fetching and carrying he has to do for the older people, and he thinks that Mrs. Wentworth’s mind is going. Cassie thinks that Mrs. Wentworth sounds like she still has her faculties and is sympathetic when Mrs. Wentworth laments about not being able to do things she used to do because her hands and feet won’t obey her anymore. Mrs. Wentworth is physically feeble these days, but she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to local history.

After she signs up to volunteer, Cassie can’t resist a peek into the forbidden East Wing of the house, and she meets Marc there. They both admit that they’re curious about the stories of treasure in the house. Unlike Ryan, Marc believes Mrs. Wentworth’s stories, and Cassie can’t wait to hear more!

Mrs. Wentworth used to be a history teacher, and she does know more about local history than Ryan gives her credit. She tells Cassie how her grandfather used to be a conductor on the Underground Railroad and how his friend, Mr. Palmer, who was the original owner of Waterview Manor, was a stationmaster, which meant that he hosted and hid the escaping slaves that Mrs. Wentworth’s grandfather conducted to him. Mrs. Wentworth’s grandfather told her about a secret room where they used to hide people and a secret tunnel that would take them to the landing site for the boat that would smuggle the runaways to Canada. When Cassie asks her about the story about Captain Kidd hiding his treasure somewhere in the area, Mrs. Wentworth said that her grandfather always believed he did, although Captain Kidd was much older than both her grandfather and the Manor. She explains a little about the life story of Captain Kidd and how it seems that most of his treasure was never found.

However, they soon have a more modern mystery on their hands. Whoever has been stealing things in the area recently seems to have started taking things from Waterview Manor. First, an expensive chess set belonging to one of residents disappears. Then, some jewelry and a coin collection disappear. Then, someone steals Mrs. Wentworth’s beloved lavaliere necklace, a special present from her late husband. For someone to both know about the residents’ valuables and to have access to them, the thief must be somebody working at the Manor! Who, could it be? Is it grumpy Ryan, who needs money? Is it John, another employee, who often acts a little strange? Could it even be helpful Marc, who seems nice but is often lurking around areas where both he and Cassie aren’t supposed to be? Or is it someone else Cassie wouldn’t even think to suspect?

The mysteries of the past start mingling with the mysteries of the present. Cassie sees signal lights from the tower of the old house that remind her of of the signals Mrs. Wentworth said the Underground Railroad used. Is someone now using them for a different purpose?

The book is available to borrow and read for free online through Internet Archive.

My Reaction

The Underground Railroad is a popular subject in US children’s books. There is something compelling about people sneaking around on clandestine missions and hiding in secret rooms and secrets passages, and since these things were used in the real life Underground Railroad, they make convenient devices for US children’s books with some historical flavor. The former Underground Railroad secret passage in Waterview Manor does play a role in this story. Someone is using it for a new purpose, just like they’re using signals from the tower.

The purpose of the Underground Railroad secret tunnel in the story is also to show that Mrs. Wentworth knows what she’s taking about when she tells her stories about local history. Ryan tries to discount her stories because some of them sound a little far-fetched and dramatic and because he thinks scornfully of the old people he serves in his job. Ryan has a negative attitude and looks at the elderly as being senile and demanding. Cassie feels differently because she has more empathy and, perhaps, because her mother is a nurse, which may make her more aware of the human condition and more comfortable helping other people. She seems to understand what Mrs. Wentworth means when she talks about finding it frustrating that she can’t do things she used to do, and she says that she agrees with Mrs. Wentworth when she says that she likes keeping her hair long even though a nurse at the Manor says it would be easier to care for if she cut it shorter. The nurse is probably thinking that short hair would be easier on those who might have to help Mrs. Wentworth wash and brush it, but Cassie understands when Mrs. Wentworth explains why she likes her hair long. Cassie thinks the people who live at Waterview Manor are interesting, and she admits to her mother that she likes to pretend that they’re her grandparents. She is fascinated by Mrs. Wentworth’s stories, and because she and Marc believe what she says, they are able to get to the bottom of the mysteries surrounding the Manor.

I was pretty sure I knew who at least one of the thieves was, and I was also pretty sure I knew why. I was correct in my first guess, but there were enough red herrings along the way to give me some doubts, so there was plenty of suspense in the story. One of them wasn’t fully aware of what he was getting involved with at first, but he does bear responsibility for what he did even after he knew.

This book also deals with the subject of divorce and how it affects families and children. Books like this were once rare, but they have been very common staples of children’s literature since the late 20th century, reflecting changes in American society and a growing willingness to discuss difficult topics with children. Moving to a new state and starting over after the divorce wasn’t easy for Cassie, her mother, and her brother. Cassie quickly becomes interested in the history of her new town, and it doesn’t take her long to find some new friends and a volunteer activity to keep her occupied. However, other aspects of the changes in her life and family will take longer to get used to. Her mother has to work long hours with a long commute, so Cassie frequently has to be responsible for her younger brother when he’s not at activities of his own, and her mother often isn’t home for Cassie to discuss things with her.

There is also some tension between Cassie and her brother because the divorce has changed their relationship with each other. Because Cassie has become more of a caregiver to Danny because her mother has to work, she has to make arrangements for Danny before she can do anything on her own, which sometimes makes things awkward for her. Danny also becomes jealous because Cassie does have more ability to do things on her own than he does and because she makes friends and settles into their new town more easily than he does.

One part of this book that I hated was when Danny intentionally left Sam outside alone to spite Cassie, and Sam is poisoned by one of the villains and nearly dies. Cassie is very upset with Danny because of this incident, understandably so, but I didn’t like it that the other characters were pressuring her to be okay with Danny and forgive him too quickly. They do this because Danny is young, they think that he left the dog out by accident, and Danny feels really badly about almost getting the dog killed. Cassie knows, although Danny doesn’t initially admit it, that Danny left the dog outside on purpose. That purposefulness maliciousness is not a thing that I think should be too easily forgiven, especially not because someone just “feels bad.” Let’s insist on a little empathy here, Danny. Cassie feels bad because you almost got her dog killed. Sam really feels bad because he’s the one who almost died! Maybe your feelings shouldn’t be given first priority here, since you were the one who caused the harm. Sam is a dependent animal. Under no circumstances should animal abuse be excused, and leaving a dependent animal outside alone to be lost, hit by a car, or yes, harmed by some other malicious person is abusive. Danny should not be given a pass for malicious behavior or animal abuse just because he “feels bad.”

Giving people that type of excuse for malice and abuse just encourages more of it in real life because the person finds that there are no consequences for their actions and it gets them the forgiveness and attention they want, so they keep doing it. It’s a dangerous thing to allow. The story makes it clear that Danny was acting out on bad feelings that he already had about the divorce and feeling neglected by both his mother and Cassie, but I think it’s important to make it clear to him that, even if he’s “feeling bad”, that does not give him the right to hurt other people or animals. Nobody has the right to hurt others just because they’ve got mixed-up feelings. I hate it that the other characters don’t seem to feel that way.

The story ends happily when Danny tries to make it up to Cassie by investigating the situation and Cassie rescues him from the bad guys. They have a heart-to-heart talk that makes Cassie realize how important Danny is to her and that she has to make time for paying attention to him and supporting him more during this difficult time. Still, I feel very strongly that the story and the other characters should emphasize to Danny that causing hurt because you feel hurt is wrong and damaging to relationships. The way the other characters tried to make Cassie feel bad about the situation also really felt like gaslighting. She had a real and serious reason for being angry with her brother, and it just made me really angry when they acted like she was the bad one because Danny was “feeling bad” and she wanted him to be accountable for his actions. He knew what he was doing, and he should have known it was dangerous to Sam, even if he didn’t know that someone was going to deliberately try to kill the dog.

I know that Danny has some emotional issues that need to be addressed, but I’m saying that he also has some behavior issues that also need to be addressed. There are helpful ways to deal with emotions and destructive ways to deal with emotions. Danny is not too young to understand the consequences of his actions and to accept them. I don’t think that learning that it can take awhile to regain trust after betraying someone’s trust is also an unbearable lesson. In fact, I’d call it a life skill. If it helps him to develop more empathy and consider other people and the consequences of his actions before he lashes out, it is worth it.

Seashells for Katie and Andy

Seashells for Katie and Andy by Solveig Paulson Russell, illustrated by Marjorie Cooper, 1973.

This is a cute little picture book that presents information about seashells in story form.

Katie and Andy are at the beach with their grandmother. As the children collect seashells, their grandmother tells them what kind of shells they are and a little about them.

The shells included in the book are: coquina shells, cowrie shells, triton shells, conch shells, lace murex, olive shells, scallop shells, and limpets.

Toward the end of the book, the kids ask their grandmother if they can find shells anywhere else besides the beach, and she tells them about snail shells.

The grandmother also tells the children about different uses people have for seashells. She talks about how they can be used for jewelry, vases, and decorations of different kinds. She also mentions that they can be broken up and used in roads, but the children don’t like the idea of breaking shells.

My Reaction

This book is nostalgic for me because my own grandmother was an amateur naturalist, and she used to give us gifts of seashells that she found in her own travels. Some of the shells in my old collection still have labels with the names of the shells in my grandmother’s handwriting.

In the beginning of the book, there is a note to parents and teachers from the National College of Education in Evanston, Illinois about how the information in the book is educationally sound. I don’t have anything to criticize about the information in the book except one instance where the grandmother talks about “Indians” making necklaces from a certain type of shell. I’m pretty sure from context that they mean American Indians and not people from India, but I think that “American Indians” or “Native Americans” would be better terms to use for the sake of clarity.

They never say exactly where the beach in the story is, which would make a difference in the types of shells that the characters might find. Most of the shells covered in the book have a pretty broad worldwide distribution, but I suspect from the selection of shells given that the characters are probably in the Southeastern United States.

Winnie-the-Pooh and the Pebble Hunt

Winnie-the-Pooh and the Pebble Hunt by Walt Disney Productions, 1982.

This is a First Little Golden Book.

Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet are trying to think of something to do. Piglet suggests a heffalump hunt, but Winnie-the-Pooh says that he would rather go on a pebble hunt because it’s easier to find pebbles.

They get a sock to keep their pebbles in, and they start collecting pebbles. However, they don’t notice right away that there is a hole in the toe of the sock, and the pebbles they collect fall out as they go.

They discover the hole when they stop to count how many pebbles they’ve found, and they realize that there’s only one pebble left in the sock. Also, they suddenly realize that they’re lost.

Fortunately, Winnie-the-Pooh realizes that they can follow the trail of pebbles they’ve lost to find their way back home. They tie a hole in the sock to stop the pebbles they’ve collected from falling out again, and they follow their pebble trail, picking up the pebbles again on their way home.

The book is available to borrow and read for free online through Internet Archive.

My Reaction

This is a cute and fun story where Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet discover that their mistake in losing the pebbles they’ve been collecting is actually a stroke of good luck because their trail of dropped pebbles helps them find their way home when they’re lost. This little picture book was a favorite of mine and my brother’s when we were little, and my family still likes to jokingly quote Piglet when he realizes that there’s only one pebble left, and Pooh asks him to count again, slowly, just to be sure: “One pebble. I counted very slowly.”

The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen pictures by Tadasu Izawa and Shigemi Hijikata, 1968.

This cute picture book is part of a series of Puppet Storybooks. What makes it distinctive from other picture books is that the pictures are all photographs of tableaux with detailed puppets. The story is a retelling of the classic Little Red Hen folktale.

A hen finds a grain of wheat, but no one is interested in helping her plant it, so she does it herself. When it’s time to harvest the wheat, none of the other animals will help her, so she also cuts the wheat herself.

Because no one wants to help her, she takes the wheat to the mill to be made into flour and bakes it into bread all by herself.

When she has the nice loaf of bread that she has made, all of the animals who didn’t want to help before suddenly come to help her eat it. However, since none of them helped with making the bread, the Little Red Hen eats the bread herself with her chicks.

My Reaction

I’ve had this book since I was a little kid, and I always liked the pictures! The puppets are detailed and posed in realistic ways. The picture on the cover of the book is a 3D hologram, and I was fascinated by it as a young child. It was one of the first holographic images that I saw as a child!

(In my defense, I might not have been the one who scribbled crayon on that cover image. I was pretty good about not drawing on books when I was little, and most of my childhood books were used, so that scribble might have happened before I got it. I don’t remember anymore, so it’s hard to deny it completely, but according to my memory, my messy scribbles were done on the back wall of my closet, behind my clothes, because I knew that drawing on walls wasn’t allowed, and I was realized that if you’re going to draw on the wrong surface, it’s best to do it where nobody’s going to see it and complain. I was sneaky like that.)

While my copy of this book was printed in English, the books in the series were originally written, illustrated, printed, and bound in Japan. I never noticed that when I was a kid because I never bothered to look at the names of the illustrators and had no interest in where it was printed, but I found it interesting as an adult. It makes me think that there are probably also versions of this book written in Japanese, but I’ve never seen any.

How Fletcher Was Hatched

How Fletcher Was Hatched! by Wende and Harry Devlin, 1969.

Fletcher the dog is sad and upset because it seems like his owner, Alexandra, is forgetting about him. She’s been playing with the new baby chicks, which she thinks are cute, and she’s been forgetting to pet her dog or even fill his water bowl!

Distressed, Fletcher goes to see his friends, Beaver and Otter, at the pond. Beaver and Otter don’t have human owners, so they don’t understand Fletcher’s feelings about Alexandra, but they try to think of ways to get her attention. They think it would help if Fletcher could make himself more like the chicks Alexandra has been obsessed with. Aince he can’t make himself small and yellow, they decide that he should hatch out of an egg, like the chicks do. Fletcher is skeptical about this plan, but Beaver and Otter think that hatching out of an egg will be like having a new beginning in his relationship with Alexandra.

Beaver and Otter build an egg around Fletcher with reeds, grass, and clay from the river, leaving a little hole so they can give Fletcher water and food. When they’re done, it’s a very convincing but giant egg.

By the time they’re finished, it’s night. Fletcher is uncomfortable sleeping in the egg and wonders what Alexandra is doing. Meanwhile, Alexandra is having trouble sleeping because she’s worried about her lost dog.

In the morning, Beaver and Otto roll the egg over to Alexandra’s school to make sure that she sees it. The first person who sees the egg, though, is the school’s custodian. He’s shocked at the sight of such a giant egg and starts yelling for the science teacher to come look at it.

Soon, the egg is surrounded by children and adults, marveling over what kind of it could be and where it came from. The science teacher brings a friend who is a university professor, and the two of them are convinced that the egg must belong to a rare creature, although they disagree about the type of creature it is.

Fletcher waits to hatch until he hears Alexandra. Alexandra’s friends are excited about the egg, but she’s just upset and only wants to go looking for her lost dog.

Fletcher decides it’s time to hatch, and he busts his way out of the egg. Alexandra is happy to see him, even though Fletcher’s attempt at peeping is a little weak. Everyone is confused, but Alexandra is just relieved that she has her dog back. Fletcher feels better, realizing that he is important to Alexandra, and she really cares about him, even though he’s not yellow and doesn’t peep.

The book is available to borrow and read for free online through Internet Archive.

My Reaction

I read this book as a kid, but I had forgotten much of the story. I remembered that Fletcher hatched out of an artificial egg and that he did it to get his owner’s attention, but I couldn’t remember why he needed attention. I can understand Alexandra being temporarily distracted by the little chicks on the farm, but forgetting to give her dog water is really bad for a pet owner. I felt like her parents should have noticed and said something. But, mostly, the situation is just set up for the purposes of this humorous hatching of a dog from a giant egg. Because the egg was created by animals, the humans in the story never find out how or why Fletcher got in the egg, which is actually the funniest part for me as an adult.

Barbie and the Missing Wedding Dress

The Missing Wedding Dress Featuring Barbie by Karen Krugman, illustrated by Laura Westlake, 1986.

This Little Golden Book is a cute mystery with Barbie and her younger sister Skipper.

Barbie’s friends, Tracy and Todd, are getting married, and Barbie and Skipper are helping Tracy to get ready. Barbie is going to be Tracy’s maid of honor, and Skipper will be the flower girl for the wedding.

However, when they’re helping Tracy to get dressed for the wedding, Barbie’s cat gets loose and Skipper accidentally tears Tracy’s dress trying to catch the cat. The three of them take the dress to the dressmaker to be fixed.

After the dress is repaired, they stop at the shoe store to pick up Barbie’s shoes. However, when they leave the store, they suddenly realize that they no longer have the box with the dress in it. Instead, they have a box that contains several pairs of jogging shoes! Somehow, the boxes were switched, but how are they going to find the person with the right box?

Barbie, Skipper, and Tracy track the person with the dress across town, using the clues that the jogging shoes belonged to a woman in a floppy straw hat with a red van that says “Flo” on it.

The book is available to borrow and read for free online through Internet Archive.

My Reaction

I read this book when I was a kid and I liked to play with Barbies, and I thought that having them solve a kind of mystery was fun, although it’s a very simple sort of mystery, chasing down a lost object. I liked this book a lot when I was little.

Barbie fans might notice that Skipper doesn’t have her 2000s look, basically looking like a smaller version of Barbie herself, which was how she looked in the 1980s and 1990s, when I got my Barbie dolls. Since then, Mattel has changed Skipper’s hair. However, people who are younger than I am might not be aware that Tracy was also a doll from the 1980s, a friend of Barbie who came in a wedding dress. This 1982 commercial on YouTube shows bride doll Tracy with her groom, Todd. The Tracy and Todd dolls existed before this book was written, so the book was written to give the dolls a story, and the dolls weren’t created based on the book.

The Poky Little Puppy’s Naughty Day

The Poky Little Puppy’s Naughty Day by Jean Chandler, 1985.

This picture book book is part of the Poky Little Puppy series from Little Golden Books.

The Poky Little Puppy and his siblings are excited because they’re going to visit their grandmother. The Poky Little Puppy wakes up later than his siblings, and when he gets up, he feels playful and frisky. He keeps running around and knocking things over. He makes such a mess that his mother puts him in time out to calm down.

After while, his mother lets him go outside to play with his siblings, but she warns him not to get dirty because they’re going to visit his grandmother. However, the Poky Little Puppy doesn’t listen. Instead, he digs a hole under the fence and ends up in the neighbor’s yard, where he plays with some laundry and drags it through the mud, getting himself and the laundry all dirty.

As his mother and the other puppies start walking to their grandmother’s house, the mother sends the Poky Little Puppy back to apologize to the neighbor. Instead, the Poky Little Puppy gets into more trouble by chasing a butterfly through another neighbor’s flower bed. When he finally makes it to his grandmother’s house, he’s wet and muddy and leaves tracks all over his grandmother’s floor.

His grandmother makes him help her clean up, but even that doesn’t calm him down. Grandmother wants to read a story to the puppies, but the Poky Little Puppy is still too energetic. He knocks over a table and makes another big mess. By the time they get it all cleaned up, there’s no time for a story, and they all have to go home.

Finally, the Poky Little Puppy seems to have exhausted himself and is feeling badly about the trouble he’s caused today. When the puppies have their dinner and dessert, he is extra careful and doesn’t even drop a crumb. He later apologizes to the neighbors and promises to do better.

The book is available to borrow and read for free online through Internet Archive.

My Reaction

This is just a cute little story about the problems that young kids can get into when they’re feeling energetic and playful but are also acting thoughtlessly and going too far. Just being playful by itself isn’t a problem, but the Poky Little Puppy has to learn some self-control about how he plays, just like human children.

The Poky Little Puppy Follows His Nose Home

The Poky Little Puppy Follows His Nose Home by Adelaide Holl, illustrated by Alex C. Miclat, 1975.

This book is part of the Poky Little Puppy series of picture books from Little Golden Books.

The puppies’ mother allows them to go exploring a little outside of their own yard, but she warns them to stay away from the highway because the cars are dangerous and reminds them to be home in time for dinner. She also adds that if they get lost, they should rely on their sense of smell to get home.

As the puppies explore, they meet other animals in the countryside and stop to play. Eventually, they find themselves on the edge of the city. They are frightened of the noise of the cars, and a pigeon tells them that they’d better stay away from the city if they want to avoid cars.

The puppies realize that they need to turn around and go home, but when they try to sniff for familiar smells to go home, they have trouble. When they try to smell the apple orchard, they accidentally find a stand where a man is ffselling apples instead. Trying to smell flowers leads them to a flower cart. Trying to sniff for animals smells leads them to the zoo.

Then, the Poky Little Puppy realizes that what they really need to do is sniff for their own smell so they can retrace their steps home. Sniffing for their own trail works, and the puppies get home in time for dinner!

My Reaction

Like other Poky Little Puppy books, the story is cute. Nothing very stressful happens in the story, making it a good story for bedtime. Even though the puppies get lost temporarily, it isn’t for very long, and they get home in time for dinner, as they do in other Poky Little Puppy books.