I’m admittedly a fan of Holly Webb and Sophy Williams’ collaboration in Animal Stories but, Oh! this one squeezed my heart!!
Jack is very good at maths but he struggles to read, so much it makes him angry and lash out at others but he won’t tell anyone the truth. One day his big sister takes him to the animal shelter where she volunteers and he hears about Daisy the tiny puppy who has been miserable & terrified since arriving.
When he hears all efforts with her have failed he feels an affinity with her and decides to sit outside her pen and practice reading aloud to her.
I may have got a bit wobbly reading this one. For every precocious reader there are many more who struggle whether due to linguistic underdevelopment, processing issues, dyslexia or just they take their time to crack the ‘code’ and the feeling of being ‘left behind’ can be devastating. I’ve taught children like Jack, frustrated and humiliated because their reading is not on par with their peers so lash out or create havoc in class to distract from their struggles.
There has been research and initiatives into the benefits of reading to dogs especially with older children not those initially learning to read which although unclear those who take part in such initiatives are extremely positive and has become supported by charities and organisations such as the Kennel Club amongst others as an initiative to support young readers
Holly Webb has written a gorgeous story here about the two way therapeutic value that animals and children can have in each other. Having rescued an ‘unadoptable’ adolescent and now senior greyhound I know what joy it is to help a dog come out of its shell and trust again with patience and kindness and this book captures that beautifully.
The Story Puppy by Holly Webb and illustrated by Sophy Williams is part of the Animal Stories collection published by Stripes Books
Thank you so much for our copy 💜