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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Shenleigh O’Doodle is a goldendoodle puppy: she’s half golden retriever and half poodle. According to her mom, that makes her special. And she is. When she first goes to the Happy Paws Daycare, she worries what the other dogs, the purebred dogs, will think of her. Some of the other dogs are mixes, too, but those that are purebred are a little standoffish. That makes Shenleigh O’Doodle sad. But, one day, the other pups find a hole in the fence and escape on their own little adventure and who should save the day, but Shenleigh O’Doodle with her poodle smarts and her golden retriever nose. She learns that her differences really do make her special.
Annesley M. Hackathorn’s picture book story, Shenleigh O'Doodle, Half Golden, Half Poodle, is much more than a sweet story about a charming little goldendoodle puppy who saves the day. It’s a story that will inspire young readers to recognize their own unique qualities and how their differences make them special. The plot follows Shenleigh O’Doodle as she mixes with the other dogs at the daycare and tries to find a sense of belonging amongst those that appear so much better than she does (or so she believes). It’s a powerful message that the author shares, a message of feeling good about oneself, but there are other important messages in this story: kindness (Shenleigh O’Doodle is always kind to the other dogs, even though they might not show kindness to her), determination (Shenleigh O’Doodle proves that where there’s a will there’s a way as long as you don’t give up), and teamwork (Shenleigh O’Doodle isn’t the only rescuing hero, as she has a partner in the guise of another mixed breed puppy ). Beautifully told and with wonderful illustrations, this heartwarming story will capture the attention of young and old alike, especially dog lovers.