Author: Ryan Hill
Illustrator: Stacy Evans
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Warren Publishing, Inc.
Number of pages: 29
Recommended age: 3 to 6
Child Rating: ★★★★½
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★☆
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Summary (from back cover): Little Johnny Lippett had just moved to a new town. He had no friends, no television, not even a goldfish… Little Johnny really, really needed a new friend.
What it’s about: This story is about a boy named Johnny who is lonely because he moves to a new house and then a bunch of bad things happen to him. Then he finds a little dog that gets to be his. Mean girls try to take his little dog, but then the dog runs away because he doesn’t like the girls and he likes the little boy.
What I liked and disliked about it: The thing I liked the best about the book was the little dog because it was cute. I liked the pictures of the puppy, but I didn’t like the pictures of the mean girls. I didn’t like the mean girls because they tried to take the dog. I liked the way the book ended though because the little boy gets his own dog back. I wished that the book was a little longer because the longer it is, it would have more better parts. The book had more bad things than good things even if it ended well – which it did.
My bottom line: I think both girls and boys my age would like this book too.
What it’s about: This story centres around a young boy named Little Johnny Lippett who moves to a new town and finds himself lonely having no siblings, no friends, and no pets. Little Johnny’s day brightens up when he finds a stray puppy with whom he immediately bonds. Unfortunately, Little Johnny is not the only one who finds the puppy adorable. Follow along this lovely little story as a bond forged through the scent of bubble gum and hot dogs reunites the lonely boy with his four legged furry friend, J. P. Trouble.
What I liked and disliked about it: This book covers many different themes that can be relevant to children: loneliness, bullying, friendship, and loyalty. I think that children who are relocating to a new neighborhood, city, or school will relate to the experiences and feelings of Little Johnny. My heart ached for him at the beginning of the book and it was touching when the puppy and the little boy found each other.
The illustrations in the book are excellent in creating the feel for the book. That puppy is absolutely adorable and the mean girls are truly illustrated as “mean”. Very well done! However, interestingly, my son was disturbed by the illustrations of the mean girls.
I have to admit that I found the “meanness” of the girls a bit much, especially with respect to how they handle the puppy. For example, one girl grabs the dog by the neck while the other one tries to kick him. Also, I didn’t like that the girls were nicknamed “Snooty Sally” and “Kicking Kelly”. Even if they are bullies, name-calling is just never appropriate and in this case, I do feel like it was unnecessary.
One final word…I think the story itself is sufficient for a first book in a series. It can stand alone as the first part of the story of how Little Johnny and J. P. Trouble meet, but I feel like there is more of a story to tell.
My bottom line: I think that, outside of the couple of issues I raised above, this is a good little story. I think young boys or perhaps little girls too (especially those who love dogs and puppies) aged 3 to 6 will really enjoy this book.
** The book J. P. Trouble by R. Hill was provided free-of-charge by the author. **
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