Why Dogs Are… by Tana Thompson

Book description:

Why Dogs Are tells the story of how a dog teaches some life lessons to a very special child. It seeks to explore the concept of God’s unconditional love and how someone without the ability to see or hear can comprehend its scope and His impact in our lives. Named a Finalist in the non-profit Indie Book Awards (category Spirituality, 2014), 100% percent of net profits from book sales goes to charities that train and support therapy dogs. The book is first in a series called “Love Unleashed.” The author’s own dog Muttley was a therapy dog that brought his light and love to nursing home residents and to children with disabilities. Born deaf and blind, Brian was the inspiration for the book. His character is a composite of the many children who attended the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind who had to learn to live life with one or more disabilities. “Why Dogs Are is everything a good children’s book needs to be – engaging and delightful,” said Amy S. Royal, professional freelance editor. “But when an author tackles a big concept and manages to convey it in a simple, yet powerful way, good becomes great. Great becomes wonderful. Wonderful becomes very special. This is an engaging, delightful and very special book with a story and message that will live forever.”

My review:

The best part about this book is the illustrations.  They are very beautifully done!  On a few pages, there is no text at all and the pictures tell the story.  Sometimes I think illustration only pages inserted in the midst of text pages are more meaningful that all the text in the world, especially in children’s books.

This book holds a lot of appeal for a lot of different people.  People who love dogs will love this book.  It is nice to see a book where the main character has a disability, without coming off as condescending toward them or using a disability in a gratuitous manner simply to heighten awareness of a specific disability.  Instead, readers of this book are exposed to the role that dogs can play in therapy.  I especially love the fact that 100% of the proceeds of the sale of the book go toward therapy dogs.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that it wasn’t Biblical accurate and it might be misleading to readers that don’t know better.  The book portrays God as less than omnipotent.  In the book, God wanted to show the main character how much he loved him, but is limited by Brian’s disabilities.  God also calls a meeting in heaven to ask for help in showing Brian how much he loves him.  I understand that the goal of the book might not be to educate people about God, but I was a little taken aback at the characterization of God and felt the message of the book could still have been served while conveying God’s love and omnipotence.

If you are looking for a nice story about dogs and how they are helpful to people with disabilities, this is a nice choice.  If you are looking for a true story of how dogs came to be, look elsewhere.  I do have to reiterate, however, that the illustrations are beautiful.  If I were reading this book to a child who couldn’t read, I would probably have them look at the pictures and make some changes to the story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookCrash in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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