Review: Little Skiff Books

April 15th, 2010

If you’re looking for smart books for kids with pets, especially dogs, then you’ll like the Little Skiff series from author Dany Pierard-Deviche, a former research biologist. I read the first two of five books in the Little Skiff series. Catch my plot summaries below.

Little Skiff’s Moving Adventures

little-skiff-moving-adventuresSkiff, a one-year-old Shetland sheepdog nicknamed Little Sheltie or Skiff,  learns he must leave friends like Kerrie the caribou in Alaska to move to his new home far away in a totally different climate in Arizona. Yet, Little Skiff has kind children to look after him and help him make the move. Before leaving Alaska, they even build him a big snowdog with dog treats hidden inside and give him a chance to say farewell to his friends. The second part of the book picks up with Little Skiff in Arizona, learning the ropes of a very different kind of place. He must get used to water which the children warn is sometimes hidden by “weeds, reeds, rush, papyrus, even algae.”

Little Skiff Copes With Valley Fever

As Little Skiff is enjoying the beautiful summer in Arizona (except for the occasional dust storm), he little-skiff-children-book-valley-fevergets into a bit of trouble from his digging. Little Skiff’s vet, Dr. Marla, explains that Valley Fever fungus lives in the ground in some areas of Arizona and spores can get into the air from digging. Little Skiff has blood tests that show he has Valley Fever, and he learns his lesson as he begins the recovery process. Readers even get a glimpse into Skiff’s X-rays! The book includes a short glossary of words like spore, fungus, debris and antibody.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed getting to know Little Skiff! He’s certainly the type of loving dog that many kids would be able to identify with. Little Skiff is a fun, respectful main character you enjoy following around. Plus, the illustrations are engaging and very plentiful.

The author explains complicated topics in a way that kids can understand. For example, Pierard-Deviche illustrates causes, symptoms and treatments of disease in Little Skiff Copes with Valley Fever by showing kids noticing their dog’s illness and taking him to the vet and caring for him during his treatment.

Little Skiff’s Moving Adventures was my favorite of the two books though. I liked how Skiff adapted to his new area and found the courage to make new friends. The snowdog gift idea was also very cute!

The softbound Little Skiff books appear strong and rugged enough, but I still would have liked them better as hardbacks. That’s just my preference though. I don’t think kids care.

I had originally planned on getting the thoughts of my nephews (ages 4 and 6) on these books. However, like the characters in Little Skiff’s Moving Adventures – they’re currently moving! The books got packed away before they had a chance to read them. However, it’s reported to me that the youngest “loved looking at the dog” when flipping through.

(Disclosure: I received a free review copy of the books mentioned in this post. Read more in my disclosures page.)

Images via publisher Little Five Star.

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