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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
Books written for the very young - mostly meant to be read aloud and to have their illustrations presented each step along - like Rufus Finds a Home by Theodore Jerome Cohen, are individually appreciated for their particular cogency of content, attentiveness of voice, and power to engage with illustrative style. The story’s plot - a most important core for any tale - with the very young becomes almost secondary to the visual presentation and aural rhythms. That is, these books are meant to stimulate a young person’s imaginary inclination toward making up his own storyline while listening to sounds, watching pictures, and imbibing a message more subliminally induced than strictly understood. The skill to accomplishing such a daunting task is great, but Theodore Jerome Cohen succeeds masterfully.
Rufus Finds a Home tells a story with a valuable message. Rufus is the longtime golden retriever companion of Charlie, a man so great with age he must make a life decision to surrender his own care unto others, and so must proffer unto Rufus - his very best friend in life - the same generous gift. To whom he shall bequeath his faithful companion becomes the subject of this heartwarming little book. In telling how Rufus Finds a Home, Theodore Jerome Cohen finds a piercing cogency of content during Charlie’s momentary encounter with two endearing children while sharing nostalgic memories of his pal. Just so, the author grabs his youthful listener’s rapt attention with perfect rhymes suited to easy personal narration by parental readers. Finally, the illustrations – focused exclusively on Rufus – are so gloriously simple, stylized, and precious that the child will want to claim the friendly fellow for himself. And learning to embrace such protective feelings is a worthy message to be embedded in such a charming book.