Jolly Time Books: Kelly’s Adventures Books 1 – 3 Box Set

Searching for Kelly, Chasing Kelly’s Shadow, and Kelly Saves the Day

Children - Grade 4th-6th
241 Pages
Reviewed on 08/12/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Jolly Time Books: Kelly’s Adventures Books 1 – 3 Box Set is a collection of children’s stories with a magical twist, and was created by co-author and co-illustrator duo Karen S McGowan and Dennis E McGowan. Aimed at independent readers of ages 9 to 12, the collection consists of three tales: Searching for Kelly, Chasing Kelly’s Shadow, and Kelly Saves the Day. In each adventure, we follow our central heroine Lizzy and her brother Ben and are introduced to their new pet puppy, the amazing Kelly. Amid incredible feats and bizarre goings-on, the trio tries to solve their problems and deal with some real-world emotions and situations along the way.

Karen S McGowan and Dennis E McGowan have created a bright and bold world for their characters to inhabit, and one which independent readers are sure to delve headfirst into and enjoy. The chapter heading illustrations give a great glimpse into each section of the stories, which are appropriately divided into bitesize pieces that readers of the target age will easily cope with. The narration is direct, discussing Lizzy’s adventures as if she is telling all the gossip to a friend, which makes for highly engaging reading and a personal connection to the central characters. As the wacky side takes off, there’s always room for an educational and moral moment under the surface. Overall, Jolly Time Books: Kelly’s Adventures Books 1 – 3 Box Set has a place on any young reader’s shelf and will help them grow and learn whilst also being entertained.

Sarah Scheele

Jolly Time Books: Kelly’s Adventures Books 1 – 3 Box Set is a collection of three short novels for children by Karen S. McGowan and Dennis E. McGowan. It’s about a girl named Lizzy Jolly, who lives with her brother, her quirky parents, and—most important—a little dachshund named Kelly. Lizzy starts out very insecure, feeling bullied at school, but after her family moves near Washington D.C. she starts an exciting life learning piano, becoming student council vice-president, and touring the White House. Along the way, she hangs out with friends, gets good guidance from teachers, and loves her cute, trouble-making dog to distraction.

Jolly Time Books is a really fun set of books! The three stories (Searching for Kelly, Chasing Kelly’s Shadow, and Kelly Saves the Day) offer a lot of laughs, a pair of amusing parents that just had me chuckling my way through the pages, and a thrilling conclusion of a hiking trip gone wrong that turned the third book into quite the adventure story. Although Lizzy narrates how she feels, with a sincere tone that makes her seem exactly like any girl you know, the many pictures of Kelly the dog serenely doing little activities emphasize that this dog is the central identity of the family. She brings out things about each family member and if they have relationships—good or bad—with each other or with anyone else, she is sure to be there. There are no secrets in the Jolly family, thanks to Kelly, and the openness and tone of gentle humor is something children can appreciate. Karen S. McGowan and Dennis E. McGowan are good at entertaining kids.