Phillip M. Feelgood And His Circle of Friends

Children - Educational
52 Pages
Reviewed on 05/28/2019
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Author Biography

Marina M. Stephens was born in Leningrad, USSR. In 1978, she emigrated to the U.S. as a refugee. She enjoyed a successful career as an international transactions lawyer, traveling to many countries and meeting a lot of amazing people. After leaving Russia, Marina lived in Texas, Kyrgyzstan, and Canada, before settling in Santa Barbara, California. Together with her husband, she raised three children and three dogs. A passionate writer all her life, besides the Phillip M. Feelgood series, Marina Stephens has written a novel, several short stories, two screenplays, and poetry.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Trisha Dawn for Readers' Favorite

Marina Stephens’ Phillip M. Feelgood and His Circle of Friends is a compilation of stories with moral lessons to be learned. There are six stories which feature animal friends and the challenges they overcame. The first story is about Hippopotamus Peter and how his views about himself made him feel each day. Second is Franklin the Skunk who had to deal with everyone’s criticisms about his smell. Baby Elephant Rose’s story is the third and in it, she deals with her dislike for her own ears and nose. The fourth story is about Brown Bear Masha and how the animals around her judged her too quickly all because she acted differently. Then, there’s Giant Python Jerome and how he dealt with himself to gain more friends. Lastly is Ferret Brother Dan who is a great friend to all but his own.

I had the pleasure of reading Phillip M. Feelgood and His Circle of Friends twice. The rhymes were such fun, I went through the stories fast the first time. Reading it a second time, I found the book still interesting! Marina Stephens is definitely a skilled writer. The idea of using animals while incorporating valuable lessons is surely effective when a young audience is involved. They are at a stage where they are fascinated with animals. It is also noticeable that the author included some difficult words – which is brilliant for vocabulary build up - but she made sure that the context will easily be understood by the readers. It’s clever! Going deeper, these stories are appropriate for today’s time and age. The issues presented are common among everyone recently and children can really learn a lesson or two. These are serious lessons but are made understandable by Stephens. Phillip M. Feelgood and His Circle of Friends is a must-have.

Jack Magnus

Phillip M. Feelgood And His Circle of Friends is a children’s social issues storybook written and illustrated by Marina Stephens. Phillip has a large circle of friends, but he’s always eager and happy to welcome new friends into that circle. He knows that things can be upsetting at times and moving to a new place can make you feel unloved and alone, but if you talk things out a bit, those problems can usually be solved -- and in a good way. Phillip’s friend, Hippopotamus Peter, wasn’t happy with his body. He felt clumsy and fat, and it bothered him so much that he didn’t really want to do anything but sit around and wait for the day to end. It particularly bothered him that Sam the crocodile was graceful and slim and that he could play for hours and swim in the water. Peter wanted to be like Sam -- it just didn’t seem fair. Then one day, there was a gigantic storm and the rain poured down for hours. The animals began to fear they would all drown if it kept on raining. Peter, though, was uniquely suited to help his friends, and he soon began to appreciate who he was.

Phillip M. Feelgood And His Circle of Friends is a marvelous collection of fables that address issues that kids and adults alike have with self-esteem and self-care. Each of Phillip’s friends has been through some issue or problem, and their stories show how they found resolutions and happiness. Stephens covers issues such as facial features, being stinky when you’re scared, and finding it hard to make friends when you’re new in school. Each fable is upbeat and charming, and they avoid being condescending or sounding like an adult talking down to a child. Her illustrations are masterful and feature bold colors, iconic images and a design structure that integrates each friend with his or her surroundings. I also appreciated how the author includes discussion questions at the end, which will help parents and caregivers continue the work Phillip Feelgood begins. Phillip M. Feelgood And His Circle of Friends is most highly recommended.