Levi Journey

An Unlikely Therapy Dog

Children - Non-Fiction
40 Pages
Reviewed on 06/04/2021
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Author Biography

Julie lives in West Palm Beach, Florida with her husband, Raùl, and their golden retriever, Levi Journey. She holds a Bachelor of Science in special and elementary education and a Master of Science in educational leadership. After a career spanning thirty-six years in education, Julie has focused her retirement on golden retriever rescue. Levi and Julie are now a certified therapy team where they volunteer at local libraries for the Animal Reading Friends (ARF) program.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Marie-Hélène Fasquel for Readers' Favorite

Levi Journey, An Unlikely Therapy Dog, written by Julie Laine Iribarren and illustrated by Martin Peers, is a magical story for young children. It is a true story and involves a lovely dog called Levi Journey. Levi Journey travels to be adopted by a new family and fulfill his destiny. This breathtaking account is a real gem. It will be loved by children as well as parents and educators. It is comprehensive and includes a short biography of two of the main characters (Julie and Levi Journey), a short text explaining what therapy dogs are and what they do, and actual pictures of the real Levi Journey!

Levi Journey, An Unlikely Therapy Dog by Julie Laine Iribarren is a heartwarming book telling a sad story that turns perfect in the end. It is similar to a fairytale and will allow kids to dream. The illustrations by Martin Peers are gorgeous, and I particularly enjoyed the little paws in which the page numbers are inserted! Everything about this book is engaging: superb drawings of the hero, a beautiful account, extraordinary characters. Levi Journey's life starts on the wrong footing. He is left alone in the forest, feels dreadfully abandoned, derelict, sad, loveless, and hungry. But he finally finds a new home with a kind-hearted family after a very long trip. Later, his potential is noticed and he is trained to become a therapy dog.

For those who want to go further, it is a pleasant introduction to animal therapy (also called "pet therapy") in general. Other species are used such as cats, horses, rabbits, donkeys, etc. The range gets wider every day to help people of all ages cope with physical and mental issues. They are seen in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, disaster areas, libraries, at home when needed ... the scope they deal with keeps broadening, and no doubt they are useful in times of stress and uncertainty. They are often accompanied by trained people and it has become a wonderful profession. To conclude, beyond the shocking drama of animals being cruelly abandoned, this story is pleasant, beautiful, and entertaining. It also makes children aware of what a therapy dog is. A storybook I warmly recommend!

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Julie and Raul Iribarren adopted Levi Journey, a rescued golden retriever with an unfortunate past. After his owners had mercilessly abandoned him, Levi was all alone in a forest. Scared and hungry, he made his way to a nearby town. People would chase him with sticks whenever he tried to procure food. All this changed when a group of kind and caring people promised him a safe home in America. After making an overseas journey by himself, Levi finally settled into the Iribarren household. His cheerful personality compelled Julie to train him as a therapy dog. In Levi Journey: An Unlikely Therapy Dog, Julie Iribarren shares this true story in the format of a picture book illustrated by Martin Peers.

Levi’s story touched my heart. His plight during those lonely days brought tears to my eyes. I desperately wanted him to find a home full of love and comfort. His inherent kindness and jovial nature despite the mistreatment by humans amazed me. The way he shared his happiness with others, especially children, made him a perfect therapy dog. I commend Julie for sharing his story with us. Peers’ illustrations did wonders in making the story more appealing. The pictures reflected every emotion Levi felt and conveyed them to readers. His sad and distraught eyes made me want to comfort him. In contrast, his facial expressions exuded bliss when working as a therapy dog. The illustration I particularly liked showed him wagging his tail with joy! At the end of Levi Journey, Julie Iribarren shared the real-life pictures of Levi, making the read wholesome. I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a heart-warming and uplifting story.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Levi Journey’s early life was difficult. Abandoned by his family, alone and afraid, this sweet golden retriever wandered about trying to find food and shelter. All he wanted was a furever family, a place where he could feel loved and cared for. Rescued off the streets, Levi Journey was sent on a long trip to America where he finally did find his furever home. His new family gave him the love and attention he craved and he returned their love with equal fervor. Levi Journey was so gentle and caring that his new family decided he would make a great therapy dog. They took Levi Journey for training and he passed with ease, settling into a therapy program that helps young people gain confidence in their reading skills.

Julie Laine Iribarren’s picture book story, Levi Journey: An Unlikely Therapy Dog, is a compassionate look at the family’s special dog. They may call him Levi, but his second name is just as important as Levi Journey’s life has been quite a journey. The plot begins with Levi Journey’s abandonment in the wild and his journey to his furever home in America where he finds a purpose as a therapy dog for children. Beautifully illustrated, the story is written in simple language to appeal to young readers. At the end of Levi Journey’s story, the author provides some information on what it means to be a therapy dog as well as a little background of the star of the story, Levi Journey himself, complete with a photo collage of doggy pictures. The story is told with care and compassion and it will certainly appeal to young dog lovers.