Bosco the Beagle
by Sharon Stancil Howard
Trafford Publishing

"It's alright little fellow for I'm small as well. I didn't make the team but promise you won't tell."

At its core, Bosco the Beagle is a sweet, feel-good children's story that sends a message for children, but one that adults can also adapt to their daily lives: Each person, big or small, has a special talent to contribute to the whole, and his or her peers should embrace it. Bosco is coined the "runt of the litter," because he is smaller than his three other hound-dog friends, and as a result, is all alone while his friends train for the hunting season. Just when Bosco is feeling low, he finds a human friend, Beanie. Both Beanie and Bosco don't make their respective sports and hunting teams, but they have each other. Together, they play fetch, hide and go seek, and even games of baseball.

More than anything else, Howard's story emphasizes the importance of having a friend who can share in moments, happy and sad, and be a pillar that one can rely on when no one else understands. While the story will leave many children, and even some parents, wanting more of the fun times between Beanie and Bosco, the eye-catching illustrations do an excellent job of helping readers visualize the characters. All elementary readers will find the simple, yet vivid prose alluring, particularly the rhyme scheme of the narrative. Overall, this is a fun and heartwarming read for children, though it would be a surefire classic if there were more scenes depicting Bosco and Beanie's adventures. Nevertheless, younger children will relish going to sleep listening to their activities. It is appropriate for younger readers, especially in the kindergarten through third grade range.

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