A Home for Dakota – A Picture Book Review

A Home for Dakota – A Picture Book Review

A Home for Dakota is a touching children’s book written by Jan Zita Grover and beautifully illustrated by Nancy Lane.

This book was the winner of the Humane Society of the United States Youth KIND Award, best children’s picture book of the year in 2009.

Published by Gryphon Press, a voice for the voiceless, presents a story aimed at teaching young readers about empathy and the importance of animal rescue efforts.

Grover’s storytelling is clear and thoughtful, while Lane’s illustrations effectively capture the emotions of the characters, making the story more compelling.

The way the book handles serious topics like animal abuse, recovery, and adoption provides an excellent platform for parents or educators to discuss these themes with young readers.

In the first part of the book, Dakota, or Dog No. 241, narrates her harsh life at a puppy mill, depicting the cruel and inhumane conditions that, sadly, are a reality for many animals.

Dakota had lived for years in a crate in a cold, dark barn.

Crates of dogs were all around her.

One night, she and the other dogs were rescued.

The writing is simple, making it accessible for young readers, but doesn’t shy away from evoking strong emotions.

Grover’s storytelling shines through as she fills the narrative with hope, resilience, and the healing power of empathy.

Lane’s illustrations are vibrant and emotive, effectively complementing the storyline.

Soon after she is rescued, Dog No. 241, is renamed Dakota.

Dakota finds herself in a warm, secure foster home.

She is being taken care of by a young woman named Emma.

Dakota is skittish, scared, and suspicious of humans due to her past experiences.

Dakota is an older dog who has suffered a lot but still has plenty of love to give.

Emma’s patience, kindness, and commitment to Dakota’s recovery are deeply touching and serve as a great lesson about the power of compassion and responsibility.

Some readers may find the initial details of Dakota’s life somewhat heavy.

But this information is necessary to show the distinct difference between Dakota’s past and her new life.

Does Dakota learn to trust, love, and find a forever home?

A Home for Dakota

About the Book
Title:  A Home for Dakota
Author: Jan Zita Grover
Illustrator: Nancy Lane
Publisher: The Gryphon Press
ISBN-10: 9780940719361
ASIN: B01K14QU44
Available at Amazon: A Home for Dakota

A Home for Dakota is an uplifting read that not only entertains but also educates young readers about animal cruelty and the importance of compassion.

It’s a wonderful book for parents to read with their children, fostering important discussions about empathy, adoption, and responsible pet ownership.

This book is recommended for children ages 5 and up, educators, and animal lovers.

It’s heartening message of resilience and friendship is universal, making it a book worth revisiting time and again.

It’s a must-read for all animal lovers and a great resource for teaching children about pet adoption.

However, parents and educators should be prepared to discuss the mature themes presented within the book.

Gryphon Press always has a final page of each title which addresses issues raised by the story.

Before you go, be sure to sign up for my mailing list here, so you don’t miss my weekly updates:


Cookie’s Fortune – Book Review

Cookie’s Fortune – Book Review

Reviewed by Sherry Dunn

Cookie’s Fortune is an incredible book that teaches children about the humane treatment of animals and the values of empathy and respect.

It is a simple, but heartwarming story portraying a stray dog who searches for food, shelter, and comfort.

Cookie’s Fortune is a story that is all too common.

Shelters are full of lost or abandoned pets.

This tale is based on the author’s adoption of a stray dog she found at a subway station.

This hardcover book has a removable dust cover.

Bios of Lynda Graham-Barber (Author) and Nancy Lane (Illustrator) on the front, inside flap of the cover.

Inside, the end papers have illustrations of scattered and opened fortune cookies with their fortunes clearly showing.

Each fortune has a paw print on it.

Don’t skip over reading these fortunes.

They are very clever.

Each one relates to the story.

There are many two-page spreads with large, colorful, and simple illustrations, making Cookie’s Fortune a great book to read in a classroom, a library full of kids, or in a child’s room as a bedtime story.

The book itself is a 9” x 9” hardback with 24 pages.

It is well constructed and full of beautiful, large illustrations.

The author uses repetition throughout the book which is great for children.

Repetition creates a sense of familiarity in the text.

“The little dog ran and ran and ran.”

By repeating the same words over and over, children start to anticipate and get excited about what will come next.

The Gryphon Press is the publisher, and their motto is, “A voice for the voiceless.”

Their picture books are great for preparing a child for their first companion animal.

The book’s cover shows a sweet, nervous dog looking over her shoulder at the reader, Chinese food scraps litter the background.

The book opens with “The little dog ran and ran and ran. She ran until her tongue scraped the ground.”

She was a stray, and she was lost. Nothing was familiar to her.

She wandered into a junkyard, climbed into a car, and fell asleep.

She woke up hungry. She followed smells which led her to a dumpster. The dog ate but the scraps of food did not taste like home.

Her fur was full of prickly burrs.

Is the forgotten dog saved from a forgotten car in a junkyard of forgotten cars?

Does she ever get a meal that’s not out of a dumpster?

How did she get the name Cookie?

Did she ever get adopted?

Of course, Cookie ultimately has good fortune.

As with all The Gryphon Press children’s picture books the last page (Helping Dogs Like Cookie) is filled with information for parents and other adults who want to learn more about shelter animals.

Check out animal rescue websites for additional information about giving shelter animals a second chance.

I highly recommend this book.

You won’t be disappointed, and children won’t be disappointed.

About the Book
Title: Cookie’s Fortune
Author: Lynda Graham-Barber
Illustrator: Nancy Lane
Publisher: The Gryphon Press
ISBN-10: 9780940719392
ISBN-13: 978-0940719392
Available at amazon.com.

Before you go, be sure to sign up for my mailing list here, so you don’t miss my weekly updates: