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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Mrs. Periwinkle was a reclusive old lady. After her husband died, she pretty much locked herself inside her house and ignored the rest of the neighborhood. It was a quiet neighborhood, except when the children started playing outside or the dogs started barking. That’s what unsettled her one morning: the children playing and dogs barking. Two of the dogs belonged to the Jones family who lived a few doors up the street. Dillon and Lucy had managed to sneak out of their backyard, scare Mrs. Periwinkle’s cat and cause such a ruckus that Mrs. Periwinkle came outside to investigate, leaving her kettle on the stove to boil. She was set to be angry, but two cute dogs, wagging their tails and looking ever so friendly, are an invitation to pet and cuddle. So, that’s what she did, leaving her kettle boiling dry on the stove and her cat alone in the house, where a kitchen fire had started. When she noticed the fire, Mrs. Periwinkle ran inside, called 9-1-1 and tried to put out the fire. But Dillon knew better. He had to get her and the cat out of the house to safety.
Cindy Orr-Jones’s picture book story, Dillon’s Big Adventure, is the second book in the series starring her rescue dog, Dillon. The story is told in simple language and uses repetitive words and phrases to help a young reader who is still learning to read. The simple language and the colorful illustrations are part of the charm that makes this book (and the first one in the series) such a wonderful addition to a child’s library. The plot develops steadily with good character development. The young reader can almost see a similarity between Mrs. Periwinkle and someone they might know in their own neighborhood: the recluse who is easily annoyed by children, dogs, and noise. What a wonderful turnaround, having Mrs. Periwinkle take a shine to Dillon and Lucy. I almost expected the story to end with Mrs. Periwinkle adopting one of Lucy’s puppies. But it’s a happy ending, as it should be, and the message is clear; to care for one another even if that person seems distant and grouchy, like Mrs. Periwinkle. I always have a soft spot for a good dog story, especially one that features a rescue dog like Dillon. Looking forward to book 3.