Madeleine Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

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Madeleine Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A delightful book with high production values which will encourage children to keep practicing their reading.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Old Barn Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1910646328

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Madeleine Finn doesn't like to read - not anything. It's not really her fault, you know. Her teacher tries to encourage her, but some of the other kids giggle when she makes mistakes. And they pull faces of the type which would have given me my head in my hands to play with when I was a child. The words just don't seem to come out right for her. The other children are getting gold stars (I've never liked that system) but all Madeleine gets is a heart sticker which tells her to keep trying. She's got plenty of those. All week she tries her best but doesn't get the star she longs for.

On Saturday Mum took her to the library. Madeleine reminded the librarian that she didn't like to read, just in case she'd forgotten, but Mrs Dimple had a surprise for her:

Madeleine Finn, would you like to read to a dog?

And there was a roomful of dogs, some with children reading to them and in the corner was Bonnie. She was big and fluffy, like a big snowy polar bear. And Madeleine begins to read to Bonnie. At first she was nervous and got letters mixed up or the words didn't sound right. But Bonnie didn't giggle and when Madeleine got stuck on a word Bonnie put her big paws in her lap until she'd figured it out.

Bonnie taught Madeleine that it's okay to go slow and that you just need to keep trying. Madeleine learned to be patient and when she had to read aloud at school she just pretended that she was reading to Bonnie. That elusive star wasn't long in coming and at the end of the story it was Bonnie who had a big surprise for Madeleine.

It's a lovely story. Reading is about practice once you have the basics and you're over that nasty bit of trying to interpret those squiggles on the page into words which mean something. Sometimes, a listener who isn't critical, who doesn't point out your shortcomings is what's needed.

The story is told in good short sentences in a clear font which would be ideal for the emerging reader. The vast majority of the text is on cream paper which is easiest for people who suffer from dyslexia and the paper is substantial enough that nothing bleeds through from the reverse, which can be distracting. There's a bonus too in that parents who suffer from dyslexia will find this book easier than most to read to their child. If the text is good, then the images are gorgeous - I'd cheerfully hang that picture of Bonnie and Madeleine that's on the cover on my wall.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag. I hope they're aware of the problem they will have caused: there are going to be an awful lot of children who want their own Bonnie to help them with their reading!

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Covers of My Book Are Too Far Apart (and other grumbles) by Vivian French and Nigel Baines.

Buy Madeleine Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Madeleine Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp at

Buy Madeleine Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Madeleine Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp at


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