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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
What are you grateful for? Are you grateful for a warm house in which to live, food to eat, water to drink, toys to play with, books to read? There are so many things to be grateful for. I bet you can make a list much longer than mine. Jake has a lot to be grateful for. He was rescued off the streets and placed in a loving home where he feels safe, warm, protected, fed, and, best of all, loved. He has a story to tell about his gratitude and he wants you to join him and add some of your own gratitude to the list.
Chris Hardy’s picture book story, Grateful Jake, is more than a charming dog story. It’s a compassionate look at an important topic: gratitude. We go through life often taking so many things for granted when, like Jake, we have much to be grateful for. After a short introduction from Jake and how he came to be a rescue dog, the author uses this sweet little dog as the role model and storyteller. Through Jake’s eyes and words, the author leads young readers through a list of things they should be grateful for. Each new item on the list begins with: “I am so grateful …” Young readers will instantly latch onto this repetitive use of the phrase and will start to recognize the words (a good introduction to reading).
With bright, bold, colorful, and interactive illustrations, the young reader will see so many things to consider for their own gratitude list. For example, when Jake says, “I am so grateful I can … SMELL!”, there are images of him sniffing the fresh baking coming out of the oven, the flowers in the garden, and, yes, of course, what dogs do best when they meet another dog (sniff their butts). There are serious examples, compassionate examples, and funny examples of things to be grateful for. This might, at first glance, appear to be a book of lists, but it’s much more: it’s a story with a lesson, one that can be interactively shared with readers of all ages.