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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
We’re all different. We have different ways to laugh, to smile, to cry, to speak, but that’s part of what makes us all so uniquely special. Jake is a fun-loving dog, caramel-colored with “a chocolate stripe down his face” (I love that description). He loves to run and play and do all the things an active young dog loves to do. The only thing is that Jake growls. It doesn’t mean he’s an angry, mean dog. He growls because he’s happy and excited. He didn’t realize that his growling scared everyone away. When he realized the problem, all he wanted to do was to fix it: “Why doesn’t anyone understand me?/ Why can’t they see I’m not actually mean?” It would appear that everyone was jumping to the conclusion that when a dog growled he was being mean and scary, when in fact Jake was full of love and kindness and fun.
Samantha Shannon’s picture book story, Jake the Growling Dog: A Children’s Book about the Power of Kindness, Celebrating Diversity and Friendship, is a fun book to read and it’s full of suggestions to help young readers think about how they judge others. Written in rhyming verse and accompanied by exciting and colorful illustrations, the plot develops as Jake introduces himself and how much fun he’s having until it’s pointed out that his growling is scaring everyone away. Jake then has to analyze the situation and find a way to make others accept him as he is, just like he accepts everyone else in spite of their differences. At the end of the book is an interactive section that outlines how young people can be loving and kind, just like Jake. There’s even an exercise called, Jake’s Loving-Kindness Activity. A fun read for the whole family and a great way to look at the world and others with loving-kindness – every day.