From guide dogs to therapy pigs, Everett introduces a small menagerie of service, therapy, and support animals.
In two sentences per page, the author describes such helpers as CAT, who snuggles with hospital patients; DOG, who helps blind and deaf people “to cross the road, get on the bus, and stay safe”; and DOG’S FRIEND, another dog who detects low blood sugar. Readers also meet lesser-known helpers such as SNAKE, who detects impending seizures, and MONKEY, who assists people who are paralyzed. With thick, rounded lines and large, simple figures, facing pages show each animal assisting or comforting a smiling human in a minimal, stylized setting. The humans’ complexions range from light to dark; their nearly identical smiles give their button-eyed faces an unfortunate, doll-like blankness. The author’s encouragement to “keep an eye out for opportunities to be a little helper yourself to someone in need!” does not include the common etiquette of asking permission before providing assistance. Awkwardly splitting different types of service dog into DOGS and OTHER DOGS, a glossary explains the featured critters’ tasks in more detail. These explanations are somewhat more complex than the primary text, rendering them inaccessible to younger readers—and although older children may appreciate the glossary, they may find the main text and illustrations too simplistic to hold their interest until then.
Well-intentioned but visually bland and textually inconsistent. (Informational picture book. 4-8)