A high-quality tear-jerker about man’s best friend.

Good Boy, Achilles!

A moving children’s tale about the ineffable bond between a boy and a canine as they come to terms with God’s plan for them.

Jeremy, an 8-year-old who lives on a farm with his parents, is very excited when their family dog, Ginger, gives birth to five adorable puppies. He knows that the pups will only be on the farm for a couple of months before his parents give them away, so he tries to spend as much time with them as possible. What he doesn’t expect, however, is the connection that he quickly forms with the biggest of the litter, whom he affectionately calls Achilles. (Ginger, unknown to Jeremy, had already named the pup Thunder.) Achilles feels the same way about the boy; it’s a friendship unlike any other. Unfortunately, Jeremy’s parents make it clear that they can’t afford to have another dog, so Achilles will have to find a different home, like all the other pups. Heartbroken, Jeremy tries to thwart his parents’ efforts by dissuading would-be adopters while also trying to cherish every moment with his beloved pet. All the while, Achilles tries to accept God’s will for whatever he has in mind for him—even if it isn’t a life with Jeremy. Ellis’ debut switches smoothly between Jeremy’s and Achilles’ perspectives. The author masterfully uses crisp details to paint clear pictures of settings and emotions, and as a result, readers will likely become absorbed by the story. Ellis also takes several moments to expound on important life lessons, subtly touch on Christian doctrine, and even show genuine, positive parent-child interactions. Although it’s often a difficult feat to humanize animals, Ellis does it well, keeping things as realistic as possible; for example, the dogs don’t understand human speech, but they do sense their emotions. This book is sure to be inspirational for Christians, moving for dog lovers, and perfect for readers who are both.

A high-quality tear-jerker about man’s best friend.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-5526-8

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LETTERS FROM RIFKA

Beginning in Russia in 1919, this epistolary novel, based on experiences of the author's great-aunt, tells how 12-year-old Rifka Nebrot and her family fled the anti-Semitism of post-revolutionary Russia and emigrated to the US. The letters, each prefaced by a few telling lines of Pushkin, tell of the fear, indignities, privation, and disease endured as they traveled through Poland and into Belgium, where Rifka had to be left behind for several months because she was unacceptable as a steamship passenger: she had ringworm. Finally reaching Ellis Island, she was held in quarantine because the ringworm had left her bald—making her an undesirable immigrant because it was thought that she'd be unable to find a husband to support her. Eventually, Rifka talked her way into the country; her energy, cleverness, and flair for languages convinced officials that she wouldn't become a ward of the state. Told with unusual grace and simplicity, an unforgettable picture of immigrant courage, ingenuity, and perseverance. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-8050-1964-2

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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GOD GAVE US CHRISTMAS

Bergen offers her third entry in her popular God Gave Us series, this time focusing on explaining the broader and more philosophically complex concepts of God’s and Christ’s presence in the world and the theological reasons behind Christmas. Mother Bear answers questions from Little Cub about Santa and the origins of Christmas. Then the mother takes her daughter out into the wilderness to show her God’s presence in nature, made visible in the northern lights and in majestic glaciers. She explains her belief in Jesus as the son of God and as a gift to each person and points to the morning star as a symbol of Jesus present in their lives. Some adults will find that the theological concepts presented here mesh with their own beliefs; others may feel that the simplified religious concepts are rather murky for preschoolers to understand. The illustrations for this volume are by a different artist than the preceding two entries in the series, and while these illustrations are attractive and polished, the polar bears aren’t quite as captivating as those in the previous volumes. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2006

ISBN: 1-4000-7175-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2006

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