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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
In Secret of the Heart: Wise Tales for a Happy Healthy Life by Michael Neer and Gwenna Merriman, we discover that “the heart has many secrets, and it IS a place you can go to.” Junah Cat is sent on a mission to find the secrets of the heart. He’s good at solving mysteries, but with such a riddle, this secret is quite confusing. The clue he’s given is that “The heart is like a garden. It’s a garden you can’t see, but it still needs tending.” How can he tend to something he can’t see? Junah Cat is even more confused than ever. With lots of purrs and the help of the three sisters with whom he lives and his special friends, old and new, Mo Mouse, Ginger Cat, Marty Mouse, and Oliver Owl, he hopes to find out. There are five special “heart patches” and Junah Cat is intent on finding and understanding them. All he has to do is listen to his heart and follow the purrs of wisdom, such as “pay attention to enjoy more,” to unravel this heartwarming mystery.
Michael Neer and Gwenna Merriman’s early chapter book, Secret of the Heart, is another inspiring story in the series. It is told in simple language to help young readers improve their reading skills. With exceptional black-and-white sketches to accompany the story, the plot develops at a steady pace as this adorable cat and his animal and human friends find a way to interact and solve the mystery together. Each chapter concludes with another inspiring purr, as Junah Cat’s words of wisdom help readers on their journey to finding the secrets of the heart. New friends are introduced, adding to Junah Cat’s growing ease with the community, working together, and caring for others. Like the classics, Tales of Peter Rabbit and many others, this will engage with, entertain, and educate young readers. Well done! Loved it!