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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Hogan’s Hope: Finding a Forever Home of Love and Acceptance (Christian Edition) by Connie Bombaci is a beautifully illustrated book that tells the story of a dog different from the others. Hogan is born in the Brown family’s farmhouse during a storm. Anna decides to keep the puppy since no one is willing to buy it as it is deaf, but she can’t have him inside the house. Her father wants nothing to do with dogs in the house. So, feeling lonely and rejected, the pup is rescued by a man who offers it a ride in his truck and eventually a home. Hogan quickly discovers hope and a strong connection with his new owner and finds meaning and happiness, in spite of the fact that he is unique.
This is a story about a dog that inspires strong Christian values. From the first pages, the reader is introduced to the idea that being different doesn’t mean being less. This is through the way that Anna looks at the puppy after everyone rejects it: “Anna guessed that Ten was different and believed with all her heart that being different meant being special!” The puppy’s journey towards self-acceptance and hope is one that will open the eyes of young readers to the beauty in others. While this is a story about a puppy, it has manifold lessons for humans and also reflects the way that God looks at each of us. Hogan’s Hope: Finding a Forever Home of Love and Acceptance (Christian Edition) is beautifully imagined and well-written in language that is simple and punctuated by biblical verses that provoke meditation. Connie Bombaci’s book is a tool to start conversations with young readers on themes of love, acceptance, and compassion and how these values can transform relationships and people.