Hello, friends! Our book today is Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa W. Papp, third in the author’s sweet series on therapy dogs.
Readers once again join the timid yet kindhearted Madeline Finn and her young dog, Star (offspring of Bonnie, the titular library dog from the series’s first installment). Madeline has been training Star to be a therapy dog as well, and his final three tests are to take place at a retirement home, comforting the residents and showing the good canine manners he’s learned. While Madeline and Star’s efforts during the tests show promise, Madeline is troubled by one resident, Mr. Humphrey, who remains silent and withdrawn during their visits. After brainstorming ways to connect with the man – as well as conferring with her mother and Bonnie’s owner, Mrs. Dimple – Madeline decides on patience and kindness as her approach… with heartwarming results.
Lovely. Papp’s gentle story and soft illustrations fit in perfectly with the rest of her series, both an informative introduction to the training and value of therapy dogs, as well as a look at the merits of patience when overcoming a challenge. Newcomers to Madeline’s story may not understand some of the references to previous books, but these are quick moments that don’t distract from the main narrative, and that fans of the series will deeply appreciate (Madeline reading aloud to Mr. Humphrey is especially touching). Madeline, Star, and Bonnie are irresistibly cute in their illustrations, and the elderly residents are rightly humanized, if a little soft-focused to feel realistic (there is a distinct lack of wrinkles, age spots, or other physical signifiers of old age other than some white hair and wheelchairs). The story is a little longer, but worth the read, especially for patient readers; JJ loved the gentle pace and sweet artwork. A lovely continuation of a heartfelt series, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)