My Two Shepherds in the Garden
by Maureen Fine
Trafford Publishing

"Pay attention to the words, have patience, to hear it all. That's what you have to do to be a better listener"

Maureen Fine attempts to teach young people how to listen, not just partially, but with enough attentiveness to hear all that is said. She uses two dogs, Happy and Blackie, to point out what can happen when one of them fails to listen completely. Happy knows he's in trouble and has done wrong and truly wants to do the right thing and make his master proud.

Fine lays out the book with the intention of getting the child reader involved in the story. She does this not only through words, but by leaving blanks in the story for the reader to fill in with his or her own imagination.

She also approaches the story as if it were a lesson plan. In fact, half of the book is used to engage young readers into many different activities, including answering questions. These questions help the child understand the difference between listening completely and hearing only part of an instruction and then racing to an incorrect conclusion. It even asks the reader to decide whether or not the impatient dog should get another chance to do better.

The book a "picture story activity book." Exercises encourage children to use their self-expression and their individuality by role-playing and through other writing activities. Fine broadens the exercises to include cutting out the puppets provided and to allow the children an opportunity to tell their own story about a pet that they have or would like to have.

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