Author: Scott T. Nicol
Illustrator: David W. Youngblood
Year published: 2013
Publisher: Cognitio Books and Apps
Number of pages: 26
Recommended age: 3 to 7
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Purchase: Amazon * Book Depository
Dr. Jim & The Special Stethoscope is about a veterinarian who has a stethoscope that can hear what the animals are thinking. In the book, a snake, a hamster, a cat, a lizard, a frog, a sheep, a dog, a rabbit, and a parakeet were some of the animals that came to visit. Dr. Jim helped them feel better.
1. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? I loved the pictures in the book. My favorite picture is the one of the kangaroo because I love kangaroos. I thought the picture of the lizard riding the frog was funny. In the picture of the cat, its face looks a bit weird.
2. What is your favorite part of the story? My favorite part of the story is the fudge shop because it made me want to go to one. My favorite animal visit was the one with the kitty because I like cats.
3. What is your least favorite part of the story? I wish the author had talked about a visit with a kangaroo.
4. Overall, what did you think about this book? I really liked this book.
5. Who do you think would like this book? I think kids between the ages of 3 and 8 would like this book, especially kids who like animals.
Son Rating: ★★★★☆
Son Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: Scott Nicol has created a very special character in Dr. Jim, the dedicated veterinarian who can hear animals’ thoughts and help them with their ailments. Using rhyming verses, Nicol introduces us to Dr. Jim who has set up his practice in the quaint town of Polestock. In the first part of the book, we learn more about Polestock which has a Fudge Shop among many other special interest shops such as Mildred’s Fur Mufflers and Joan’s Outerwear. In the next part, the reader is explained that Dr. Jim has a special stethoscope that helps animals. I love this concept! My kids and I immediately said that we wanted something like that so we could hear our cat, Flame’s, thoughts. We would ask him why he jumps on the curtain covering the front door only to have it crashing on the floor about once per week. Why oh why?!
In the next part, we meet individual pets who have specific issues. For example, the black Persian cat has a flat face, but Dr. Jim calls her beautiful so she is then ok. There is also a rabbit who is afraid someone wants his foot for a lucky charm. I must admit that I didn’t really want to have to explain THAT one! My kids were mortified. There is a lovely assortment of critters who come through the front door and many of the pictures are very adorable (e.g., the lizard riding the frog like a horse). I also got a chuckle reading Dr. Jim’s checklist on the last page. There is an item “Call Mom & Dad” that I personally really appreciated.
We had the opportunity to read three of the Dr. Jim books: The Special Stethoscope, The Glorious Gift, and The Polestock Pest. They are all very enjoyable. I do have to admit that I had to go to Amazon to determine which was the first book in the series, and I was left a little confused. Dr. Jim and The Special Stethoscope is listed as Volume 1 on Amazon, but Dr. Jim and The Glorious Gift was published first and introduces Dr. Jim as a little baby, growing up to receive the special stethoscope, and becoming a vet – almost like his backstory. Dr. Jim and The Special Stethoscope also seems to introduce Dr. Jim, but as an already-established vet in Polestock. Dr. Jim and The Polestock Pest is more of a mystery and assumes the reader knows the backstory.
One other great add-on worthy of mentioning is the glossary included in the back of each back. I like that the book includes some slightly advanced words and them defines them in the back (e.g., ailment, bout, prescribe, routine). This is great for vocabulary-building.
My Bottom Line: I enjoyed reading this unique book series. I think it is a great concept, the rhyming is solid, the illustrations are very kid-friendly, and the story is fun to read. I perhaps would have liked a better representation of physical ailments – many of them seemed to be related to feelings (e.g., feeling ugly, feeling lonely, feeling scared). It felt a little awkward at times, because of the attribution of human emotions and reactions to animals. I don’t feel that an animal would be sad about never being kissed for example. However, it really is an adorable series that the children and I both enjoyed. I would recommend it to children aged 3 to 7 who enjoy reading stories about animals.
* This book was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review.*
About the Author (From Goodreads)
Scott Thomas Nicol was born and raised in New Jersey. Although he doesn’t write for a living (he works in the construction industry), he has always loved writing. “I would relish writing assignments in school. Even in college, I took creative writing courses as electives.”
The Dr. Jim series of books he is creating, starting with Dr. Jim & the Special Stethoscope, has been something he considered doing for years. “I started fooling around with rhyming words and stanzas to tell this story. Finally, I got serious about it and created a cute concept about a young country veterinarian and this magical instrument he uses to figure out his patients’ ills. It became a great little story. And the subsequent stories are (and will be) as well. These could be a feature animated film in the making!”
Scott is married and has three beautiful children. “This whole story writing is, kind of, for them. I created these cute stories with them in mind.”
For more on author Scott T. Nicol and the Dr. Jim Book Series, please visit http://www.drjimstories.com/.
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