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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Charley Meets His Neighbors: Charley, Steven, & Stella, Book 2 is a children’s animal picture book written by Jeff Magnuson and illustrated by Bettina Brasko. Charley likes Mapleton, the town where he and his rescue cats, Stella and Steven, live. The neighbors are all pretty friendly, except for Mr. Krane, the man who lives next door. No matter how many times Charley has tried to meet him, Mr. Krane doesn’t seem to have time to answer the door -- he’s too busy with the projects he seems to enjoy so much. Stella and Steven love the pond that Mr. Krane just dug in his backyard as well as the bird feeder that he hung right near it. They spend hours on Charley’s window sill, watching as the birds come to feed and enjoy the pond. One day, when Charley neglects to fully close the door, he finds that Stella is missing when he returns. In his efforts to find Stella, Charley finally gets to meet the elusive Mr. Krane as well as a rescue dog, named Daisy, and Sophie and Jimmy, two twins who are members of the Mapleton Junior Police Squad and play a big role in helping to find his missing cat.
Jeff Magnuson’s children’s animal picture book, Charley Meets His Neighbors: Charley, Steven, & Stella, Book 2, addresses one of the most awful experiences a pet companion can have -- coming home to find an animal companion missing. There’s also an illuminating episode earlier in the book about the most awful experience a cat can encounter, which is seeing the pet carrier come out of the closet -- a sure sign that a visit to the vet is in the offing. Magnuson’s pet-oriented book continues this series with more looks at the responsibility for and care of animals, and the rehoming of shelter pets into good homes. Bettina Brasko’s illustrations are awesome. Stella and Steven are cute enough to make the reader want to reach into the page to cuddle them. Charley Meets His Neighbors: Charley, Steven, & Stella, Book 2 is a grand selection for animal lovers of all ages, as well as a perfect introduction to shelter pets for families considering bringing a new animal companion into their home. It’s most highly recommended.