Oh No, Riley!

Children - Grade K-3rd
32 Pages
Reviewed on 02/15/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

Oh No, Riley! by Valerie Whetstone, illustrated by Mel Schroeder, is a children’s picture book that will encourage kids to develop a positive mindset. Six-year-old Jake wants a dog and his dad tells him that having a dog is a big responsibility. He assures his dad that he can do it. Finally, the day comes when they are to pick up a dog from the pound and Jake is so excited. He chooses Riley, a Labrador Retriever puppy and they take him home. Riley figures in a lot of misadventures such as chewing the kitchen towel and Dad’s shoes, stealing hamburgers, and chasing after ducks. Jake almost gives up on Riley but then he discovers that dogs can be trained. Believing that he can do anything he sets his mind to, Jake teaches Riley with the help of the dog training chart, and together they did it!

Valerie Whetstone’s Oh No, Riley! is an excellent book for teaching children how to develop self-confidence and overcome obstacles in life. Beautifully illustrated, readers can follow Jake’s experiences from Monday to Sunday as he takes on the responsibility of owning and caring for a dog. Children can also practice counting by finding the bones left by Riley everywhere. The story is easy to follow and offers lessons that can be learned along the way. This book should appeal to children who, like Jake, dream of owning a pet. The affirmations at the end of the book are most helpful for teachers and parents to teach kids that they should never give up easily. The book is both educational and entertaining and is the perfect combination to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to life in general.

Kathy Golden

Jake wants a dog and is so excited when the time arrives for him to choose his pet. He chooses Riley, and from there, the adventures and the learning begin for both Jake and Riley. As expected, Riley is eager and excited and gets into all kinds of mischief. Inevitably, there comes a turning point for both Jake and Riley. Oh No, Riley! by Valerie Whetstone takes readers into that wonderful place where a boy and his pet both find out what being a pair is all about. This story is illustrated by Mel Schroeder. I enjoyed all the large and colorful drawings. The artist does a great job of portraying the high-energy spirit and antics of Riley.

Valerie Whetstone’s Oh No Riley! is a great example of how children can learn to turn a negative situation with a pet into a positive one; how they learn that instead of giving up, they just need to find a way to be their own “I can do this” superhero, and by doing so, they will help their pet become a superhero’s best and obedient friend. I especially enjoyed the way the author portrays what it’s like for a child to get a new puppy and to learn the full responsibility involved in being a good and loving pet owner. Her story teaches children this lesson in a way that any child can grasp and feel good about learning. Thank you, Valerie, for your enjoyable and educational book.

Philip Van Heusen

Jake is six-and-a-half years old and wants a dog. This scenario is repeated hundreds of times every day. Valerie Whetstone knows that the desire for a puppy is strong in children. Still, she also understands that raising a puppy is hard work. She shares Jake’s experience in Oh No, Riley! Puppies will be naughty and cause drama in any family. Jake agrees to take responsibility for Riley, including cleaning up messes, feeding, and training. Every night, Jake tells Riley that he will love him forever. Great words, but can this love last as Riley continues to explore, sometimes in destructive ways? Finally, Jake starts to give up, but a friend shares information about dog training. What changes when Riley learns how to be an obedient dog?

Oh No, Riley! is dedicated to all children who believe they can do hard things every day and never give up because they believe in themselves. Belief makes all things possible, and Jake revels in the possibilities as he never gives up on caring for Riley. This is a good story and helps children learn how to affirm themselves. There is a page with twenty mindset affirmations for children to use while increasing their self-confidence. There are also many resources listed for dog lovers. As a parent, this book helps your children learn perseverance and commitment. It is also good to teach that everything is possible if we never give up. It is always too soon to give up. Children need to learn that commitment is often accompanied by hard work.