Saturday, November 5, 2022

Today's read... Animal Rescue Friends: Friends Fur-Ever! by Jana Tropper

Today's read is hitting the shelves in only three more days and is the latest in the Animal Rescue Friends series. I have not peeked into this series before, so as usual, I'm late to the game. It is a graphic novel (I have quite a few of those this month), and is actually authored by a teacher, who is also a strong advocate for graphic novels in schools. After all, getting kids reading is key (also the main thrust behind Bookworm for Kids).

Anyway, animal friends be ready because this one promises to be fun.

by Jana Tropper
Illustrated by Genevieve Kote
and Asella Lenoir
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Middle Grade Contemporary / Graphic Novel
160 pages
ages 8 to 12


Bell, Maddie, Noah, and the rest of the gang are back in Book 2 of Animal Rescue Friends—and they’re about to meet a whole new crew of furry pals in need of a little TLC!

It’s the start of a new school year, and the kids are excited about their new club, Oakville Elementary School’s Club for Animal Appreciation, Education, and Rehabilitation—even if their new club advisor, Mrs. Wen, doesn’t share their enthusiasm. But as they meet a decidedly unusual crew of animals, including a bearded dragon who won’t eat, a therapy pig named Truffles, and a prickly porcupine who needs first aid, the kids and adults alike learn that when people help animals, the animals help them right back.



Not only animal fans will enjoy this group's contagious love for creatures and get wrapped up in their adventures.

Bell and her friends spend tons of time at the Animal Rescue, helping where they can. Now, they've decided to start a club at school centered around animals and awareness. Their new club advisor doesn't share the enthusiasm, since she was forced to head it, but maybe this group can even win her over.

This is the second book in the series and can be jumped right into without reading the first...although starting at the beginning does enrich the backstory. This group is hard not to like right from the get-go. While there is a bit of friendship disagreement at the beginning, this is nicely solved and already starts everything off on an inspiring and wholesome note. Even a new, questionable member joins in, taking a wonderful turn and showing how first impressions or rumors might not be quite as spot-on as thought. Plus, other themes are hit upon during this read ranging from dementia to revenge to going beyond comfort zones and more. And it is, of course, about animals.

Animals are at the center of what this group is about, and this theme is weaved right into the ones mentioned above with finesse. The reader learns a bit about some animal's habits, various responsibilities animals can have, fears of animals and more, and it does this without ever steering even close to the line of preachiness or as if the information is being taught. Instead, this tale remembers that it is a story first. The adventures are interesting and grabbing, and the characters do come across as normal kids. The situations, while often including animals, remember there is more to life...and this aspect makes everything flow well.

The illustrations are bright and bold, and balance with the text. The characters' emotions come across well and the scenes carry just enough details to make them sit. The animals are easy to recognize and are portrayed as intelligent and sweet.

This is a fun way to grow animal awareness, while giving young readers fun adventures to enjoy.

And here they are...

Jana Tropper, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist at a midwestern public elementary school. When she’s not writing, she reads, plays video games, and serves as the director of Literacy for Reading with Pictures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting comics in education. She lives with her husband, Josh, and their own two rescue dogs, Ripley and Newt.

Genevieve Kote is an illustrator from a small town in Quebec who now lives in Montreal. Her work has appeared in parenting and lifestyle magazines, kids’ magazines, newspapers, chapter books, educational manuals, and video games. She is the illustrator of According to Aggie—a comic that appears in every issue of American Girl magazine. She is inspired by vintage children's books, Manga, animation, and screen-printing. In addition to being an artist, Genevieve is an avid reader, enthusiastic baker, and traveler. She shares her studio with a sweet but tired-looking cat. 

Axelle Lenoir is a French-Canadian comic book artist born in the tiny gap between Gen X and Millennials. She has published a dozen books in Canada and Europe, including Camp Spirit and What If We Were, her first English-language books. She's currently working on a weird autobiography titled Secret Passages. Axelle's writing style is a mix of humor, everyday life situations, fantasy, and comic strips.

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