Smiley: A Journey of Love by J. George
George, Joanne. Smiley: A Journey of Love. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2017.
Smiley: A Journey of Love is the heartwarming story of a blind dog who becomes a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog. While the story contains some complex topics that early readers might struggle with such as Alzheimer's or puppy mills, the colourful photography that accompanies the text make it an excellent book to be read with an adult. The photographs of Smiley will help very early readers to invest in Smiley’s story though the text is larger and double spaced so that moderate level readers could use this book to build their reading skills. Given the length and amount of text, this book would be longer than could be covered in one storytime but is broken down by chapters so it could be used for a week of storytimes.
Librarians and educators may find this book useful for starting a discussion around blindness or different ability needs. This book frames Smiley’s blindness and dwarfism simply as things that make Smiley himself and while they might change the way he interacts with the world, this book discusses his abilities in a positive way. There is also a part that discusses Smiley’s friendship with Pearl and Pippi which could be used to teach about being respectful of friends' needs. Overall, this book contains high-level vocabulary and concepts but if read with an adult's support can be the start of some very educational discussions.
Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Lorisia MacLeod
Lorisia MacLeod is the Online Reference Centre Coordinator with The Alberta Library (TAL) and a proud member of the James Smith Cree Nation. When not working on indigenization or diversity in librarianship, Lorisia enjoys reading almost any variation of Sherlock Holmes, comics, or travelling.
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