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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
In Puppy Pals and Puppy Tales: Letters from Liza Year 2 by Johnette DeRose, we learn that Puppy Liza isn’t a puppy anymore. She’s grown into a fine young Labrador retriever who is a loving member of a family of four. She watches as the two children, Sam and Bea, are measured against the wall and listens as Mom praises them for growing so tall and strong. Puppy Liza estimates her growth by measuring how far she can stretch out when lying down. She watches with interest as Sam’s tooth gets loose and finally falls out. The young Labrador retriever is amazed that so much fuss is made over a baby's tooth falling out when she’s sure she just swallowed hers when they fell out. So many things are different between young Puppy Liza and the human children, but one thing remains constant: their love for each other.
Johnette DeRose’s early chapter book is a collection of stories told through letters written by one smart Labrador retriever. Puppy Liza describes the many activities in her fur-ever home, from the first day of school to a dove nest in the gutter and an escaping frog. The narrator has a no-nonsense, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor as she depicts simple daily activities and weaves them into a plot of family fun. Some of the stories shared in the letters relate to seasonal activities, like pumpkin carving, while others are part of her human family’s daily routine. The language is simple so young readers can easily read it alone. The illustrations are colorful and add another dimension to the growing story letters. Puppy Liza is certainly lovable, as are the stories she shares.