Monday, September 24, 2018

Deputy Paws and the Puppy Mill Cause

Title: Deputy Paws and the Puppy Mill Cause
Author: Peggy Race
Illustrator/Editor: Mike Motz
Publication Date: July 31, 2018



(Reviewed by Elaine Kaye and Chrys Fey)

I love that the author is truly committed to the cause of helping animals by donating a portion of each book’s profits to animal rescues, shelters, and organizations. And I have to say she has an impressive background as well.

Depute Paws is an adorable dog with an important message. Deputy Paws was born in a mill under filthy conditions, kept in a cage where shots cost too much, food and water were scarce, and there was no grass to run on. But…he was adopted after being rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue! Now, he enjoys all the things all dogs should have.

I liked that a page that showed the conditions of a mill with dark, gloomy illustrations was directly opposite a more uplifting page with bright illustrations that showed how much better Deputy Paws’ life is now since adoption.

“I’m one of those puppies
who was born in a mill.
There are many more like me
that need your help still.”

This book raises a great conversation and can push many kids to activism, to stand up for animal rights. Parents and kids can make a difference together by approaching pet stores and asking Senators and congresspeople to shut down mills, two of the tactics Deputy Paws outlines to help puppies in mills.

“Learn all that you can
before you walk through the door.
It’s the mill dogs who suffer
when you buy from the store.”

I think many kids and even parents will wonder about the animals in pet stores and what will happen to them if they aren’t bought. We need to understand that pets in stores got out of the mills, which is a step up, though living in a pet store isn’t much better. We also need to understand the process of buying a single dog or cat from a pet store (because they need a good home, too) will result in the store replacing that animal with another from a mill, thus continuing the cycle.

But what will happen if no one buys these pets? This is important for us to know. Dogs and cats that get older and are not sold will eventually go to rescue groups/shelters (hopefully not pounds). So, then these animals will be up for adoption. This wasn’t explained in the story and I feel it should have been.

There’s a line in the story that says, “Don’t buy your next pets without seeing the mothers.” But I don’t think this is possible if an animal was born in a mill and rescued from one or put in a shelter after not being sold at a pet store.

A lot of the story was about pet stores being bad, but not all pet stores are bad, which I feel needs to be said, too. According to more than 2,300 pet stores nationwide have signed an HSUS pledge not to sell puppies, showing other pet stores you can be successful without supporting puppy mills.

At the end of the book, we get a a few more details about mills and how breeding dogs are kept in cages their whole lives, and what happens to puppies after they are born in a mill.

What’s so great about this book is the call for action (though I do feel what I highlighted above should've been included to prevent questions/confusion).

Reading Deputy Paws and the Puppy Mill Cause to your kids is a good first step, but we have to continue to find ways to support Deputy’s cause, as he shares in the story.

Although with a powerful message, it’s done in a gentle way with a cute character, great illustrations, and clever rhymes.

RECOMMENDED for all children 6+.

Perfect book for classrooms and libraries.

Sammy can't have a dog, so he adopted a dog puppet. :)


Peggy Race, is a Wisconsin-based children’s book author, literary memoir writer, and avid dog lover with a vision to create a better world for our canine companions.

To date, she has completed various dog handling workshops, was an intern in Dog Town at Best Friends Animal Society and has spent her time volunteering for numerous other esteemed organizations. Peggy has dabbled in dog sports, competing in agility and taking nosework classes.

Currently, Peggy serves as a volunteer for Bailing Out Benji, an organization which raises awareness of and educates about puppy mills and their connection to pet stores.

Peggy shares her home with three fun-loving dogs. Desiree, a rescue from Hurricane Katrina, Faith, a ball herding border collie and Deputy, a cocker spaniel mix; the inspiration behind “Deputy Paws and the Puppy Mill Cause.”

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Hedy’s Journey: The True Story of a Hungarian Girl Fleeing the Holocaust #DiverseKidLit

Hedy’s Journey: The True Story of a Hungarian Girl Fleeing the Holocaust
By Michelle Bisson
Illustrated by El Prima Ramon

The illustrations have a simple, classic feel to them, almost sophisticated with their neutral grays, browns, and blues and a touch of soft, salmon-pink here and there for a bit of color.
This book has a powerfully message right at the beginning: 
“Everyone always says how brave I was to travel through Europe on my own in the middle of World War 11. I didn’t think I was brave. I was Jewish, so I had no choice.”
Hedy’s cousin, who stayed with them in Budapest, willingly boards a train for deportation. She says she wants to be with her parents and brother no matter what happens. Her finals words were: “I am only sorry I didn’t get more out of life while I could.” This statement shows the horror of this time.
“Marika understood she was going to die.”
After this, Hedy’s family knew they were no longer safe.
“If the Nazis were coming for one Jew, it was only a matter of time before they came for us all.”
They set plans to travel to the United States. First, they have to get to Portugal to board a ship, but a problem arises when only three tickers are acquired. Someone would have to stay behind and wait. That person is Hedy.
When it’s time for her to leave, she’s in Nazi territory alone.

Before their flight to the United States, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, initiating the US’s entrance into the war. The tragic turn of events ruins their plan to travel by an American passenger ship to New York.
They have set backs and a bit of luck that sees them on a boat sailing refugees to Cuba, Chile, and New York. While on board, tragedy strikes, reminding everyone the cost of war.

Parts of this story is gloomy for a picture book, as any story would be when talking about the Holocaust, but it’s a good story for kids learning about the Holocaust in school. It’s another perspective.