Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot - Book 1 by Randa Handler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot by Randa Handler is a very cute children's story which I read to my grandchildren (ages 4 & 6) although the older ones did listen and join the discussion. (More about that part later.) I won't recap the story as you can read the author's description for yourself however what you may not realize is that it is has many colorful pictures throughout the story of the different characters in the different scenes. They are much like the cover of the book which depicts a scene in the book. It is bright and colorful plus not only do you get to read the description about them, you get to see the pictures too which really helps the little one visualize what they look like and what is happening.
The story basically is about friendship (among other things) and when I read a few pages, I would stop so we could have a discussion about the different things (depending on what was happening on those pages) relating it to my grandchildren's real life. An example of this is when the three boys protected and became friends with Cubbie and his dog, we discussed that it doesn't matter that Cubbie didn't look like the boys or had different color skin or even that his dog had two tails, they still were friends. The boys didn't make fun of him for being different and it didn't matter how big or small he was or even if his dog had one ear or four. Friends can come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and may look very different from you. You shouldn't tease or not be friends with someone just because they are different. I must say I was quite surprised the older children joined in this discussion, I didn't even realize they were listening. They were playing a game but they joined in and we all had a great time reading and discussing the book. The way the story is written is in a way that makes these 'lessons' easy to talk about.
There is one issue I had with the book and perhaps it is just because I am over cautious but with the way the world is going today I feel like no one can start the discussion too soon or talk about it too much. Naturally I understand this is a children's book and they don't need to be subjected to the harshness of reality all the time but I did use the opportunity for a discussion about being approached by strangers who want to be your friend. I didn't want them to believe everyone who walks over to them (including adults) and are nice or ask for help are their friends. I know it sounds like I am contradicting what I said above about friends coming in all sizes and shapes but we talked about it so they know the difference, basically we discussed 'friend' vs. 'stranger'. This is just my personal opinion but I just felt this should have been addressed by the boys using some obvious caution because just by Cubbie telling them not to be afraid and he needed their help and as he told his story 'the boys relaxed' wasn't obvious enough to a child reading the book to themselves yet the 'friends coming in all sizes' comes across loud and clear.
The story itself wasn't so long it bored the children yet so short it took only a minute to read. I did have to define a few words because the younger ones didn't know what they mean (e.g. telepathically) but for the most part the words were easy enough for the older children to read themselves and I didn't notice any format issues or typos. I think this was a fun, adventurous story (with great pictures) and it promotes wonderful 'qualities' as well as giving way to meaningful discussions about various topics with the child/ren.
* I received a free copy of this book for my honest review. The free copy in no way influenced my opinion.
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