September 25 – It’s Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week

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About the Holiday

Established by Petfinder, this week-long holiday aims to raise awareness of all those animals in shelters who, because of age, health, size, or even color, are overlooked for adoption. But these animals have a lot of love to give, and the bonds you can form with a special-needs or unusual pet can change your life. To learn more about the Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week and how you can help deserving animals find a forever home throughout the year, visit Petfinder Pro. 

Thanks to Sleeping Bear Press for sending me a copy of Tails from the Animal Shelter for review consideration. All opinions about the book are my own.

Tails from the Animal Shelter

Written by Stephanie Shaw | Illustrated by Liza Woodruff

 

Welcome to the Humane Society Animal Shelter! The animals are waiting to meet you, and the staff are happy to introduce you to the wonderful animals who are available for adoption. While most animals who arrive at shelters across the country are dogs or cats, there are lots of other pets looking for a new home. Why do some animals come to live in a shelter? The book reveals many reasons. Among them are that “some of the animals are strays; some are rescued from natural disasters” and “some have been given up for adoption because their owners can no longer care for them.”

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Image copyright Liza Woodruff, 2020, text copyright Stephanie Shaw, 2020. Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

Are you ready to find a new friend? If it’s a puppy you’re looking for, you’ll love Tinkle, who’s so excited to see you that he “cannot help but piddle.” But it’s okay. “Happy puppies always dribble….As time passes and pups grow, / This little guy won’t pee ‘hello.’” If you don’t know what type of dog is best for your family, the staff at the shelter can help match you to the perfect one.

Cats also make wonderful pets for many reasons. Whether you like long-haired or short-haired, large or small cats, you’ll find just the right fit for your family at the shelter. Not ready for a long-term commitment? You can look into fostering a newborn kitten to get them ready for adoption. What kinds of kittens will you find? All sorts, like Ariel, who says: “I’m an acrobat cat! / I can climb anywhere! / I’ll roll in a ball and then / leap to a chair!”

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Image copyright Liza Woodruff, 2020, text copyright Stephanie Shaw, 2020. Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

These dogs and puppies, cats and kittens are only a few of the animals that turn up needing a new home. Take Pooter, for example. Pooter is black and white and, despite the recognizable stripe down its back, does not stink. Skunks that make their way to shelters “have never lived in the wild” and have had surgery so they cannot make their “smelly spray.”

Veterinary advances have improved the lives of injured animals or animals with health problems. Animals with special needs can now be fitted with “rear-support leashes or wheelchairs” and “can live happily for many years.” If you can adopt “an animal with special needs [you] will bring a grateful and loyal pet into your family.” A popular pet that has some surprising talents, a rabbit can also be a top choice for people who live in a smaller home. Trained to use a litter box, rabbits “can live indoors just like cats do.” 

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Image copyright Liza Woodruff, 2020, text copyright Stephanie Shaw, 2020. Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

If you live on a farm or have a lot of land in an area that allows for farm animals, you may be interested in Hamlet, who tells readers, “I am a sweet potbellied pig. / I started small but I grew BIG….I know some tricks. I’m neat and clean. / I’m many things. I’m just not… / lean.” Around the nation there are many “pigs, goats, sheep, and chickens [that] need new homes. There are over two hundred thousand horses alone rescued or surrendered to shelter care every year.” 

Along with detailed descriptions of the birds, reptiles, and senior animals that also make loving pets, the book is packed with information about how and why certain animals come to shelters and programs that sponsor a variety of animals and help get them ready for adoption. Back matter reveals how animal shelters were established, gives extensive tips on and issues to consider when adopting a shelter animal, lists ways people can help shelter animals even if they can’t adopt, and provides online resources for learning more and finding shelters in your area.

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Image copyright Liza Woodruff, 2020, text copyright Stephanie Shaw, 2020. Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

In her fascinating and accessible text, Stephanie Shaw combines poetry with facts and interesting tidbits about each type of animal to discuss why they make excellent pets for the right person or living condition. Her humorous, whimsical verses that accompany each category and introduce a particular animal will charm kids with a snapshot of the animal’s personality. Kids will also enjoy talking about how each name fits the animal.

Liza Woodruff’s cheery illustrations will enchant animal lovers with adorable images of funny, loving, and endearing animals happy to find a forever home. The joy that pets bring to a family is evident as kids hug, play with, and react to their pets.

An excellent introduction to shelter animals and pet ownership, Tails from the Animal Shelter is highly recommended for any family thinking about adopting a pet as well as for young animal lovers and kids interested in veterinary medicine or volunteering to help animals. The book would also make a favorite addition to school and public library collections.

Ages 5 – 8

Sleeping Bear Press, 2020 | ISBN 978-1534110489

Discover more about Stephanie Shaw and her books on her website.

To learn more about Liza Woodruff, her books, and her art, visit her website.

Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week Activity

CPB - Pig Day pigs

Roly Poly Spool Potbellied Pig and Piglets

 

Get ready to have fun making this cute and easy craft! Ham it up with your own pig and piglets who can keep you company on your desk, near your bed or anywhere it’s fun to play!

Supplies

  • Printable Pigs Ears Template
  • 2 ½-inch wooden spoon, available from craft stores
  • 1-inch wooden spool, available from craft stores
  • Pink yarn, I used a wide-strand yarn
  • Pink fleece or felt
  • Pink craft paint
  • Pink 5/8-inch or 1-inch flat button with two holes
  • Pink 3/8-inch flat button with two holes
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black marker

CPB - Pig Day with spools (2)

Directions

  1. Print Pigs Ears Template
  2. Trace the ears onto the fleece or felt and cut them out.
  3. Paint the spool with the pink paint
  4. Let spool dry
  5. When the spool is dry, glue the ears to the spool, letting the ears stick up over the rim of the spool.
  6. Wrap yarn in straight layers around spool until the body of the pig is a little bigger than the end of the spool, which will be the face
  7. Cut yarn off skein and glue the end to the body
  8. To make the nose, glue the button over the hole in the middle of the spool
  9. Mark the eyes and mouth with a marker
  10. To make the tail for the large pig, cut a 4-inch long piece of yarn. Tie a triple knot in the yarn (or a knot big enough to fill the hole in the spool). Then tie a single knot near the other end of the yarn. Insert the large knot into the spool’s hole at the back of the pig. Trim the yarn in front of the second knot as needed.
  11. To make the tail for the piglets, tie a single knot in the yarn and another single knot below the first. Insert one of the single knots into the hole. Trim yarn as needed.

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You can find Tails from the Animal Shelter at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

To support your local independent bookstore, order from

Bookshop | IndieBound

 

Picture Book Review

 

December 11 – International Mountain Day

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About the Holiday

Mountains are majestic! Towering over the landscape, they leave us awestruck with their beauty and mystery. Supporting unique wildlife, providing challenging personal achievement, and inspiring countless works of art, the mountains of the world received their own United Nations-sponsored holiday in 2003. Established so that we remember and honor the importance of mountains to the environment and cultures in which they’re found and to the world at large, International Mountain Day is a celebration we can all support.

She’ll Be Coming UP the Mountain

Written by Kim Norman | Illustrated by Liza Woodruff

 

Moose and her pals are sprucing up the place in anticipation of Polar Bear’s return home. They know that “she’ll be coming up the mountain when she comes,” and are sure “She’ll enjoy our frozen fountain when she comes.” In addition to sweeping and dusting, the crew are planning a special welcome, and can’t wait for her arrival because “when she gets here she’ll discover / just how much we really love her / in a banner strung along the cabin wall.”

It seems that even though Polar Bear was away for a long time, no one forgot her. During her absence her friends sent her poems and hand-knitted sweaters, and now that she is coming back even the narwhals and gulls will come to cheer. Even if their “teeth begin to chatter / not a bit of it will matter when she comes.” Then they’ll throw “an arctic party when she comes. / We’ll play music, tapping icicles and drums. / Everybody will be clapping / while the caribou is rapping. / Not a creature will be napping when she comes.”

And, boy, do these guys know how to plan a homecoming! Out in the bay the kayakers will be paddling in formation, the whales will be spouting, and everyone else will be shouting when they see Polar Bear. There will be gifts galore, “high ones, twos, and fives,” a daring ski-slope salute, and plenty of “cheesy” pictures to document it all. As the moment arrives the anxious friends send out a message to which Polar Bear instantly sends an intriguing reply that they that they won’t believe their eyes. Before the waiting group can decide whether to “send our fastest skier, / who will be the first to see her, / and can tell us what will be her big surprise?,” they hear snuffling in the snow. Then suddenly over a snowbank they see her! They cheer and run to meet her and then they all tumble into the house—Polar Bear and her cubs!

Kim Norman has taken the buoyant song “She’ll Be Coming ‘round the Mountain When She Comes” and turned it into a joyful tribute to friendship that will have kids tapping their toes and bouncing along. The sweet story, strict rhythm, and well-known rhyme scheme allow for a mountain of laughs as the welcome-home party grows for the return of a favorite friend. Norman infuses her story with so many details and such enthusiasm that readers can’t help but get excited too. The final revelation that Polar Bear is bringing a surprise will have kids cheering along when they discover Polar Bear has new cubs.

Liza Woodruff’s vibrant illustrations exuberantly depict the preparations and plans the friends have for Polar Bear’s return. Kids will love lingering over Woodruff’s brightly colored and action-packed pages to catch all the details of the coming party. The animals’ camaraderie as they clean together, help deer knit a sweater, practice their welcome activities and especially imagine being together again is heartfelt and infectious. Readers will be glad they too are standing on the front porch looking for the first sight of Polar Bear and are invited inside the cozy cabin for the surprise party.

She’ll Be Coming UP the Mountain is a book full of fun that you’ll probably find yourself singing instead of reading—much to everyone’s delight! For boisterous story times, as a take-along on vacations, or for any time when happiness is the order of the day, this book is a perfect addition to kids’ bookshelves.

Ages 3 – 8

Sterling Children’s Books, 2016 | ISBN 978-1454916109

To learn more about Kim Norman and her other books as well as find fun activities, visit her website!

Discover a portfolio of artwork by Liza Woodruff on her website!

International Mountain Day Activity

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Mountain Landscape Coloring Page

 

Grab your pencils and crayons and create a beautiful scene with this printable Mountain Landscape Coloring Page.